Panama President Approves Canal Expansion

Tuesday, June 27, 2006
After review, President Martín Torrijos and the Cabinet Council of Panama have approved the proposal to expand the Panama Canal. Yesterday, Dr. Ricaurte Vásquez, Chairman of the Panama Canal Authority’s (ACP) Board of Directors and concurrent Minister for Canal Affairs, submitted the said proposal to the National Assembly. The National Assembly will review the proposal and hold discussions that will be open to all Panamanian citizens. If approved, the Assembly will then create a law mandating a referendum to be held after 90 days in which the people of Panama will vote on expansion. The Panama Canal expansion would be the largest project at the Canal since its original construction. The project would double the waterway’s capacity and allow more traffic by creating a new lane along the Canal through the construction of a new set of locks. An expanded Canal would benefit the people of Panama and world trade, and would help maximize Panama’s geographic location. Expansion will also improve the flow of international commerce and facilitate the movement of goods through several important markets. It will increase capacity at one of the world’s critical trade arteries and allow the vital “All-Water Route” to continue to grow.
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