Congress, Administration Watch the Trade World Go By

By August 11, 2009Trade

CanWest News Service, this morning, “Canada signs free-trade agreement with Panama“:

PANAMA CITY — Prime Minister Stephen Harper will sign a free-trade agreement with Panama on Tuesday morning, giving Canadian business greater access to the small but fast-growing Central American economy.


Once the deal is ratified, Panama will immediately eliminate tariffs on more than 90 per cent of its current imports from Canada. The remaining tariffs will fall within a decade.

And from the Aug. 5 letter to President Obama from major business groups, including the National Association of Manufacturers, referring to the pending Colombia, Korea, and Panama free trade agreements:

In particular, we urge you to pursue major market-opening agreements with the Asia-Pacific and beyond, as well as more focused initiatives on an industry and country-specific basis, including the passage of the three pending trade agreements.  Such initiatives will help enable U.S. workers and industries to gain access to the 95 percent of the world’s consumers, who command 80 percent of the world’s purchasing power and who live outside U.S. borders. …

Failure to lead will be costly to the United States.  Our manufacturers, farmers and service providers will continue to face significant barriers in foreign markets and will also be disadvantaged vis-à-vis many of their foreign competitors whose governments are negotiating agreements to ensure that their industries and workers have new market-opening opportunities.


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