The President has notified Congress that he intends to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with Panama. This is good news for America’s manufacturers, as the more trade agreements we have, the more markets we open for US-made goods. Exports are growing much faster than imports in part because we are opening new markets through trade deals.
Recall that in only one year after CAFTA, we went from a $1 billion trade deficit with CAFTA countries to a $1 billion trade surplus. Doesn’t take a trade expert to figure out that CAFTA opened markets, helped drive exports to those countries.
Here’s a link to our press release, hailing this most recent good news. You’ll see our new trade policy director Doug Goudie quoted as saying that our trade with FTA countries accounts for half of our overall trade but only six percent of our trade deficit. Let’s hope we have more FTA’s.
UPDATE (By Carter Wood, 9:40 a.m.): Want to help the economic revival of post-Katrina New Orleans? Support the U.S.-Panama FTA, allowing U.S. manufacturers and businesses to take full advantage of the $5.5 billion Panama Canal expansion. From Time Magazine:
The plan calls for adding a third set of locks, wide enough to serve the supersize, post-Panamax vessels–those carrying more than 5,000 20-ft.-long containers–that many consider the future of commercial-cargo shipping. The canal’s Old World competitor, Egypt’s Suez Canal, can already accommodate the bigger vessels. A resized Panama Canal could be a boon to U.S. ports on the Gulf and East coasts, which currently handle post-Panamax cargo directly to and from Asia only via the lengthier Suez route. Says Gary LaGrange, CEO of the Port of New Orleans: “This will be monumental for maritime trade on the Gulf Coast.”
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