Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank released a statement on Monday in praise of the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) which goes into effect today. The agreement will encourage trade between the two nations, allowing goods to move more freely between one of Latin America's fastest growing economies and the U.S.
"New U.S. trade agreements mean more export opportunities for American companies–and more American jobs. The U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement goes into effect (October 31), and will eliminate the majority of tariffs that U.S. exporters currently face. The agreement guarantees expanded access for U.S. manufactured and agricultural products, as well as to Panama’s $22 billion services market, including in priority areas such as telecommunications, computer, distribution, express delivery, energy, environmental, and professional services. The Commerce Department and the Obama administration stand ready to assist U.S. companies take full advantage of the new opportunities this trade agreement presents," remarked Blank.
Over 87 percent of U.S. exports of minerals and fuel to Panama will receive duty-free treatment immediately upon implementation of the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement with the remaining 13 percent to follow in five years. Between 2008 and 2010, the U.S. spent over $15 million in duties paid on exports of U.S. minerals and fuel to Panama which accounted for 8.8 percent of total exports to Panama during that period.
The agreement will encourage domestic production, reduce the cost of exports to Panama and add up to a $96 million savings for the U.S. annually.
The U.S. Dept of Commerce International Trade Administration offers a clear overview of the particulars. Click here for the Trade Administration's overview.