(Posted Wed. Oct 31st, 2012)
Oct. 31: The National Corn Growers Association applauds the Panama Free Trade Agreement going into effect today. NCGA testified before the Senate Finance Committee on the importance of the FTA to America’s farmers in May 2011 and remains committed to the development and maintenance of fair and open global trade policies. Congress passed the Panama FTA last October.
“We are very pleased to see the Panama FTA go into effect,” NCGA President Pam Johnson said. “Every new trade opportunity increases the American farmer’s ability to participate in a growing global marketplace. This is vital to producer income and helps our sector continue to be a bright spot in our economy.”
Panama is one of the fastest-growing economies in Latin America and a crucial building block in a strategy to advance free trade within the Western hemisphere. Upon implementation of the FTA, more than 86 percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial goods to Panama will become duty-free immediately. Nearly half of the tariffs on U.S. agricultural exports will go to zero upon implementation, including on wheat, barley, soybeans and high-quality beef. The majority of the remaining products will have tariffs eliminated within 15 years.
Passage of the free trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama represented the largest trade package since Congress passed the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993. Statistics show full implementation of the agreements will result in an estimated $2.3 billion in additional agricultural trade in 2012 and beyond. In addition, nearly 20,000 domestic jobs will be supported.