June 28,2007

Grassley Welcomes Signing of U.S.-Panama Free Trade Agreement, Highlights Agricultural Gains


To: Reporters and Editors
Re: Signing of the U.S.-Panama free trade agreement
Da: Thursday, June 28, 2007

Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Committee on Finance, today made thefollowing comment on the signing of the U.S.-Panama free trade agreement. The FinanceCommittee has jurisdiction over international trade.

“I’m pleased by the signing of the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement. We alreadyafford duty-free treatment to more than 95 percent of our imports from Panama. But our exports toPanama don’t fare as well. For example, Panama imposes a tariff of up to 74 percent on our porkexports, a major Iowa product. The agreement will result in duty-free access for U.S. pork, as wellas for beef, corn, soybeans, and other Iowa agricultural products. By giving duty-free access to U.S.goods and services in the Panamanian market, this agreement will bring much-needed reciprocityto our bilateral trading relationship.

“Aside from the trade agreement itself, Panama also agreed to remove scientificallyquestionable impediments to imports of U.S. beef, pork, and dairy products. That’s significant. Theelimination of these barriers should result in increased exports of Iowa agricultural products toPanama.

“The agreement also ensures that U.S. firms will have the opportunity to participate in bidsto provide their services in the expansion of the Panama Canal. That expansion project will cost anestimated $5.25 billion.

“I look forward to seeing this trade agreement implemented by Congress soon, along withour trade agreements with Peru and Colombia.”