Washington DC – The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) today applauded the successful conclusion of negotiations on the terms of the U.S.-Panama Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The Council congratulated negotiators from both countries for achieving this outcome following yesterday’s announcement.
“Panama has long been an important trading partner in Central America, and this agreement will expand trade and investment opportunities for businesses, workers and industries in both countries,” said Anne Alonzo, NFTC Senior Vice President and Co-Chair of the Hispanic Alliance for Free Trade. “This agreement is a ‘win-win’ for the United States and a key regional ally. The United States is Panama’s largest trading partner and the agreement, once it enters into force, will help to further cultivate a robust and mutually beneficial economic partnership.”
In early 2004, the Administration began negotiating the terms of the FTA with Panamanian officials. Once the agreement is ratified by the U.S. Congress and Panama’s legislative body, and signed into law by the President, the FTA will enter into force. Upon enactment, the FTA will allow for duty-free trade of more than 80 percent of U.S. consumer and industrial exports to Panama.
In October, the people of Panama voted on a referendum to expand the Panama Canal. The multi-billion dollar project is slated for completion in 2014. “The expansion of the Panama Canal will also be vital to expanding our trade relationship well into the future. This new step forward is a milestone for Panama and the United States,” said Alonzo.
Once enacted, there will be continued and increased market access for U.S. goods and services, including the financial, mechanical and transportation sectors, among others. In 2005, bilateral trade between the United States and Panama reached $2.5 billion, with $1.8 billion coming from U.S. exports.
Advancing Global Commerce for Over 90 Years
The National Foreign Trade Council (www.nftc.org) is a leading business organization advocating an open, rules-based global trading system. Founded in 1914 by a broad-based group of American companies, the NFTC now serves hundreds of member companies through its offices in Washington and New York.