"I am incredibly pleased that the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement entered into force yesterday. Washington State has seen its exports to Panama significantly increase over recent years, and implementation of this agreement represents a great opportunity for Washington exporters to sell their goods, agricultural products and services in Panama's growing market," said Reichert."Of the three trade agreements passed by Congress last year, this is the last to be implemented. I spent years in partnership with my colleagues advocating for these agreements, so it's especially satisfying for all of this hard work to come to fruition. American farmers, workers, and businesses will finally be afforded the protections and tariff reductions negotiated years ago, resulting in the creation of jobs here at home. Now, we must push forward in pursuing new market access opportunities so that U.S. businesses may continue to "Sell American" to the consumers outside of our borders."
Reichert, a long-time, vocal advocate for free trade, led the fight in Congress in his role on the House Ways & Means Committee, the Trade subcommittee, and as a member of the Trade Working Group to urge the passage of free trade agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama. In October of 2011, the House of Representatives passed these agreements with bipartisan support. The U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement entered into force on March 15, 2012 followed by the implementation of the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement on May 15, 2012. Today, the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement enters into force. The Agreement includes important protections for exporters against non-tariff barriers to trade as well as reductions in tariffs. In 2011, Washington State exported over $462 million worth of goods to Panama, an increase of over $300 million from 2009. The U.S. almost doubled its exports to Panama from 2009-2011, exporting over $8.2 billion to Panama last year.