U.S.-Panama Free Trade Agreement Takes Effect Today: Great for Economy, Jobs
The free trade agreement between the United States and Panama goes into effect today, opening up one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America to U.S. goods and services by eliminating high tariffs and other trade barriers. While the global economy has hit some rough patches in recent months, free trade has the power to boost growth and in turn, help create more jobs at this critical juncture. FedEx has been a strong advocate for free trade agreements, like the one with Panama, because they open new markets for American goods and services. Those new markets offer great opportunities for entrepreneurs, manufacturers and service providers to sell their wares and expertise overseas without expensive and unfair tariffs or other hurdles. The more markets they serve, the more employees they can hire and that translates into global economic growth. Every billion dollars of goods and services exported last year supported more than some 5,000 jobs, according to the U.S. Trade Representative.
The new agreement with Panama is a welcome development that will dramatically cut tariffs – some as high as 81 percent – on manufactured goods like construction equipment and agriculture products. The agreement will also provide U.S. companies vital access to Panama’s $22 billion market for services such as express delivery, financial services and telecommunications. Panama’s economy is one of the fastest growing in the region and last year alone the United States exported $8.2 billion worth of goods to the country.
This new free trade agreement, like others with South Korea and Colombia, serves as an excellent model for negotiating with nations to tear down trade barriers. The United States is at the table with nearly a dozen other countries across the Asia-Pacific Rim seeking to wrap up the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks in the coming months. Additionally, we look forward to early 2013 for the potential launch of new trade agreement negotiations that would take a fresh look at trade barriers on services and updates to past agreements to bring regulations in line with the 21st Century economy.
We look forward to a long and prosperous trade relationship with Panama that will now allow goods and services to flow freely between our two great countries and help further boost our respective economies.