Today, the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) enters into force, marking an historic milestone and bringing us closer to our goal of an unbroken network of free trade agreements in the Western Hemisphere. By eliminating tariffs and other barriers, the TPA will significantly liberalize trade in goods and services between our countries, enhancing competitiveness and supporting jobs. It’s an example of the Obama Administration’s commitment to economic statecraft and deepening our economic engagement throughout the world.
Almost all U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products to Panama will now be duty-free with remaining tariffs phased out over ten years. Nearly half of all current trade will receive immediate duty-free treatment with most of the remaining tariffs eliminated within 15 years. This agreement will also preserve duty-free access for Panamanian goods previously granted under trade preference programs and help strengthen the Panamanian economy.
Not only will this reinforce the ties between our economies and create jobs, it secures our strategic partnership with a key partner. I want to thank President Martinelli for his leadership on the entry into force of the TPA and look forward to both countries fully realizing the promise of this agreement.