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US-Panama Free Trade Agreement to Go Ahead

24 October 2012

US & PANAMA - The United States Trade Representative (USTR) have announced that the United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement, also known as the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), will enter into force on 31 October 2012.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is greatly encouraged by this news and the ultimate removal of tariffs and other barriers to US exports, including US agricultural exports.

“The cattle industry has been waiting on implementation of this agreement for a long time and we’re looking forward to increased trade opportunities with Panama,” said Bob McCan, NCBA vice president and a Texas cattleman. “The US-Panama Free Trade Agreement immediately eliminates the 30 per cent tariff on prime and choice beef cuts and all other duties will be phased out over the next 15 years. This is a positive step forward for American cattlemen and women.”

Panama is one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America with forecasts of between five to eight percent annual growth through 2012. This agreement provides US ranchers access to this valuable market. Similar to the FTA with Colombia, the agreement with Panama provides assurances for a stable export market through plant inspection equivalency.

Additionally, Panama modified its import requirements related to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) to be consistent with international standards. With these agreements in place, the United States will have free trade for US beef with approximately two-thirds of the population in the Western Hemisphere.

“NCBA has been an outspoken supporter of this agreement and others like it because they increase market access and provide stable export markets based on internationally recognized scientific standards,” Mr McCan said. “We are encouraged by today’s news and we appreciate Ambassador Kirk and the USTR’s leadership in moving these agreements forward.”

TheMeatSite News Desk

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