Last week, Panama's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nivia Rossana Castrellón Echeverría visited Montreal and Ottawa to publicize Panama City's bid to house the Permanent Secretariat of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). The Secretariat would act as a home base for delegates and support staff working out the implementation of hemispheric free trade, and would serve as a magnet for spin-off services and investment. Nine other cities are competing to be the host: the American cities of Atlanta, Chicago, Galveston, Houston, and Miami; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Cancun and Puebla in Mexico; and Port of Spain in Trinidad & Tobago. Each candidate has been asked to submit a technical proposal describing how they would meet the requirements of hosting the facility. A decision is expected to be made by November of 2004 on the site of the Secretariat.