The Free Trade Agreement between the US and Panama has arisen some concern about potential problems that will arise in the farming industry with the change in policy. But, Ricardo Martinelli refuted those concerns stating that the trade deal, benefiting U.S. exporters will ultimately benefit Panama due to lower prices for consumers. The Deputy Minister of Trade Negotiations also stated that, “Each country develops its economic programs according to their realities, we (Panama) do not have to think about replicating something similar” (La Prensa). There is still speculation by farmers and leaders in Panama’s Agriculture industry on the matter. Find out more below from La Prensa-
Panama will not alter farm policies for trade agreement
While some representatives of the Panamanian agricultural sector have warned about potential problems that will arise from the signing of a free trade agreement with the United States, the government said those concerns will not cause any change in policy.
Ricardo Martinelli said that while the trade deal will benefit U.S. exporters, he said ultimately Panama will benefit due to lower prices for consumers. As far as complaints by farmers about having to compete with their heavily subsidized American counterparts, Francisco Alvarez De Soto, deputy minister of Trade Negotiations, said: “Each country develops its economic programs according to their realities, we do not have to think about replicating something similar.”
The trade deal is widely expected to be presented to Congress this year.
Alvarez De Soto said the trade deal will benefit Panama even though there is currently a large trade deficit between the two countries that benefits the U.S. He said that 40 percent of Panama’s exports are delivered to the U.S.
Officials with the American Chamber of Commerce and Industry indicated that they have high expectations that U.S. investment in Panama will increase if the trade deal is signed. They said U.S. companies would use the trade deal to take advantage of opportunities available locally.