or Login to see your representatives.

Access Candidates' and Representatives' Biographies, Voting Records, Interest Group Ratings, Issue Positions, Public Statements, and Campaign Finances

Simply enter your zip code above to get to all of your candidates and representatives, or enter a name. Then, just click on the person you are interested in, and you can navigate to the categories of information we track for them.

Public Statements

United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

* Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. 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 in 2007, which means four 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.


Source:
Back to top