Brady touts benefits of trade pact
Big Thicket Messenger - August 2007
U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady (R-The Woodlands) recently attended the signing of the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement, held at the Organization of American States.
U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab and Panamanian Minister of Commerce and Industry Alejandro Ferrer signed the new pact, which opens up trade between the United States and Panama, providing Texas businesses, farmer and ranchers significant opportunities for new sales and investment. The U.S. Congress and Panama’s legislature must approve the agreement before it can go into effect.
“The trade promotion agreement we signed today with Panama is a win-win opportunity,” said Congressman Brady. “It supports economic growth in both our countries and helps promote regional stability and security in our own backyard.
“While our market is already generally open to Panama, this agreement makes that relationship a two-way street. Once implemented, Panama will remove nearly 90% of tariffs on U.S. exports, starting at day one.
“Lower tariffs mean better access to customers in Panama, which allows Texas opportunities to sell more goods and services, such as construction equipment, medical devices, autos and auto parts, chemicals, and wood and paper products. And the more customers Texas businesses have access to overseas, the more good paying jobs we can support at home. Already, half a million manufacturing jobs are supported by exports in Texas.
“Panama offers great opportunities for us to partner on services, too. Like the United States, where 80% of our workers are employed in the services sector, whether that’s financial, transportation, tourism, or express delivery, Panama has a dynamic services-based economy. This agreement provides us a unique opportunity to partner with another like-minded market to expand sales and investment.
“And for our farmers and ranchers, Panama will eliminate tariffs on over half of all current exports immediately, including for certain beef, poultry, soybeans, fruits and nuts. Pork, dairy, corn, and rice growers and producers will also benefit – especially as Panama has agreed to recognize U.S. food safety standards.
“Trade agreements are key to retaining America’s position as the world’s most competitive economy, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to approve the Panama agreement quickly.”