Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton DTN Ag Policy Editor

Monday 10/22/12

Vilsack on Panama FTA Going into Effect

I thought real hard about leaving the photo of Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of Jordan on the blog posting because she's much easier on the eyes than my mug.

Alas, after spending some time in Lubbock last week, I finally had time to post a blog item.

With the announcement of the implementation of the Panama Free Trade Agreement, the U.S. finally gets to boost ag trade to one of the world's booming small economies. As I reported 18 months ago, I couldn't believe how modern Panama City is, as well as the skyscraper development in the country.

In a news release, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement Monday on the U.S. - Panama Trade Promotion Agreement:

"The U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement (Panama TPA) enters into force next week, eliminating tariffs and other barriers to U.S. goods and services, promoting economic growth, and enhancing trade between the United States and Panama. Last year, President Obama insisted that we get this agreement with Panama right-alongside pacts with South Korea and Colombia-forging a better deal for America's workers and businesses that led to strong bipartisan support in both houses of Congress. Altogether, these agreements will bring an additional $2.2 billion in agricultural exports.

Panama is an important market for America's farmers and ranchers. In 2011, the United States exported more than $504 million of agricultural products to Panama, one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America. Next week, nearly half of current U.S. farm exports to Panama will become duty free immediately and most of the remaining tariffs will be eliminated within 15 years.

Since the time when the President signed the Panama, Colombia and Korea agreements into law, USDA has also acted to remove hundreds of unfair barriers to trade for American companies and provide businesses with the resources they need to reach new markets. These efforts have resulted in the most successful period in the history of American agriculture and a boon for America's rural economies. We are experiencing the strongest four years for agricultural exports in our nation's history and are forecast to continue this record success in 2013."

Posted at 4:47PM CDT 10/22/12 by Chris Clayton
Comments (1)
With all of the foreign aid this country has provided, Panama should be in good shape.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 5:38AM CDT 10/23/12
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