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Press Statement
Sean McCormack, Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 8, 2008


Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Travel to Panama

At the invitation of Panamanian President Martin Torrijos Espino, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will travel to Panama City, Panama on December 9-10, 2008. Secretary Rice will meet with President Torrijos to discuss bilateral issues, including trade and education. She will lead an interagency team that includes Deputy U.S. Trade Representative John Veroneau, Deputy Under Secretary of Labor for International Affairs Charlotte Ponticelli, and Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Michelle O’Neill, Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Brian O’Neill, as well as Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Thomas Shannon, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs Daniel Sullivan, and Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans, Environment and Science Claudia A. McMurray, to participate in the first Pathways to Prosperity Ministerial meeting.

President Bush and leaders of eleven Western Hemisphere countries launched the Pathways initiative on September 24, 2008 to ensure that the benefits of trade more broadly reach all of our citizens. The Ministerial will provide Pathways countries the opportunity to develop and implement policies and programs to achieve key Pathways goals, including (1) ensure that the benefits of trade are broadly shared in our societies; (2) promote and deepen regional trade; (3) expand regional cooperation on economic development and competitiveness; (4) enhance cooperation on labor and environmental standards and enforcement; and (5) engage the private sector and civil society to advance these objectives. Ministerial discussions will focus on the establishment of a plan of action to develop policies and programs to achieve these goals.

2008/1018


Released on December 8, 2008

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