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Public Statements

United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. I thank the esteemed chairman for the time.

Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of the U.S.-Panama free trade agreement. In my home district of Miami-Dade, Panama is among its top 25 trading partners. In Florida as a whole, it ranks number one among all of the States in exports to that country--incredible numbers. And these figures, Madam Speaker, will only increase once the FTA has been approved and American businesses no longer face heavy tariffs and other artificial barriers to trade.

But in addition to the potential economic growth stemming from this agreement, Panama is a key strategic ally in the region. Ever since the Panama Canal was completed a century ago, Panama's importance to the U.S. has only increased as a major transportation route, with two-thirds of its traffic consisting of shipments between our west and east coast. For these reasons--expanded exports, increased jobs, closer ties with a strategic ally--I hope that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will pass this free trade agreement.

Madam Speaker, we have been waiting for this agreement for far too long, years of lost opportunities. But now we have a chance to repair that damage. In the past year alone, Panama's economy grew 6.2 percent, making it one of the fastest growing in Latin America and an expanding opportunity for American businesses. Currently, U.S. industrial exports face an average tariff of 7 percent, but some tariffs go as high as over 80 percent. But once this agreement goes into effect, 87 percent of all U.S. goods exported to Panama will become duty-free immediately.

In the past 4 years since the trade agreement was signed, American companies have paid millions upon millions of dollars in tariffs to the Panamanian Government. These dollars are needlessly spent by U.S. businesses to foreign governments when they could have been paid here in the United States to beef up our businesses.

* [Begin Insert]

Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of the U.S.-Panama Free Trade Agreement.

We have been waiting to vote on this agreement since it was first signed, which means years of lost opportunities.

But now we have a chance to repair that damage.
Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. I thank the esteemed chairman for the time.

Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of the U.S.-Panama free trade agreement. In my home district of Miami-Dade, Panama is among its top 25 trading partners. In Florida as a whole, it ranks number one among all of the States in exports to that country--incredible numbers. And these figures, Madam Speaker, will only increase once the FTA has been approved and American businesses no longer face heavy tariffs and other artificial barriers to trade.

But in addition to the potential economic growth stemming from this agreement, Panama is a key strategic ally in the region. Ever since the Panama Canal was completed a century ago, Panama's importance to the U.S. has only increased as a major transportation route, with two-thirds of its traffic consisting of shipments between our west and east coast. For these reasons--expanded exports, increased jobs, closer ties with a strategic ally--I hope that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will pass this free trade agreement.

Madam Speaker, we have been waiting for this agreement for far too long, years of lost opportunities. But now we have a chance to repair that damage. In the past year alone, Panama's economy grew 6.2 percent, making it one of the fastest growing in Latin America and an expanding opportunity for American businesses. Currently, U.S. industrial exports face an average tariff of 7 percent, but some tariffs go as high as over 80 percent. But once this agreement goes into effect, 87 percent of all U.S. goods exported to Panama will become duty-free immediately.

In the past 4 years since the trade agreement was signed, American companies have paid millions upon millions of dollars in tariffs to the Panamanian Government. These dollars are needlessly spent by U.S. businesses to foreign governments when they could have been paid here in the United States to beef up our businesses.

* [Begin Insert]

Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of the U.S.-Panama Free Trade Agreement.

We have been waiting to vote on this agreement since it was first signed, which means years of lost opportunities.

But now we have a chance to repair that damage.

In the past year alone, Panama's economy grew 6.2 percent, making it one of the fast growing in Latin America and an expanding opportunity for American exporters.

Panama is already among Miami-Dade county's top 25 trading partners and Florida as a whole ranks number one among the 50 states in exports to that country.

These figures will only increase once the FTA has been approved and American businesses no longer face heavy tariffs and other artificial barriers to trade.

Currently, U.S. industrial exports face an average tariff of 7 percent, with some tariffs as high as 81 percent.

Once this agreement goes into effect, 87 percent of all U.S. goods exported to Panama will become duty-free immediately.

In the past 4 years since the U.S.-Panama Free Trade Agreement was signed, American companies have paid millions upon millions of dollars in tariffs to the Panamanian government.

Those are dollars needlessly spent by U.S. businesses, which they could have used for investments and expansion here in the U.S. instead of paying fees to a foreign government.

Approval of the U.S.-Panama FTA will eliminate this transfer of wealth, increase U.S. exports, and create new jobs here at home that so many Americans are desperately searching for.

The agreement also has many other provisions of importance to U.S. businesses, especially strengthening intellectual property rights, which are under assault around the world.

In addition to the potential economic growth stemming from this agreement, Panama is a key strategic ally in the region.

Ever since the Panama Canal was completed a century ago, Panama's importance to the U.S. has only increased as a major transportation route with two-thirds of its traffic consisting of shipments between our west and east coasts.

For these many reasons--expanded exports, increased jobs, and closer ties with a strategic ally--I strongly urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote in favor of the U.S.-Panama Free Trade Agreement.

* [End Insert]
In the past year alone, Panama's economy grew 6.2 percent, making it one of the fast growing in Latin America and an expanding opportunity for American exporters.

Panama is already among Miami-Dade county's top 25 trading partners and Florida as a whole ranks number one among the 50 states in exports to that country.

These figures will only increase once the FTA has been approved and American businesses no longer face heavy tariffs and other artificial barriers to trade.

Currently, U.S. industrial exports face an average tariff of 7 percent, with some tariffs as high as 81 percent.

Once this agreement goes into effect, 87 percent of all U.S. goods exported to Panama will become duty-free immediately.

In the past 4 years since the U.S.-Panama Free Trade Agreement was signed, American companies have paid millions upon millions of dollars in tariffs to the Panamanian government.

Those are dollars needlessly spent by U.S. businesses, which they could have used for investments and expansion here in the U.S. instead of paying fees to a foreign government.

Approval of the U.S.-Panama FTA will eliminate this transfer of wealth, increase U.S. exports, and create new jobs here at home that so many Americans are desperately searching for.

The agreement also has many other provisions of importance to U.S. businesses, especially strengthening intellectual property rights, which are under assault around the world.

In addition to the potential economic growth stemming from this agreement, Panama is a key strategic ally in the region.

Ever since the Panama Canal was completed a century ago, Panama's importance to the U.S. has only increased as a major transportation route with two-thirds of its traffic consisting of shipments between our west and east coasts.

For these many reasons--expanded exports, increased jobs, and closer ties with a strategic ally--I strongly urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote in favor of the U.S.-Panama Free Trade Agreement.

* [End Insert]


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