The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens

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Panama tariffs on U.S. ag products to go down

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Panamanian Minister of Commerce and Industry Ricardo Quijano announced today that the United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement will enter into force on October 31, USTR said in a news release.

USTR noted that U.S. agricultural goods currently face an average tariff of 15 percent to Panama, with some tariffs as high as 260 percent. When the agreement goes into effect, nearly half of U.S. exports of agricultural commodities to Panama will immediately become duty-free, including wheat, barley, soybeans, high-quality beef, bacon, and almost all fruit and vegetable products, with most of the remaining tariffs to be eliminated within 15 years, USTR said.

In 2011, the United States exported more than $504 million of agricultural products to Panama, one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack noted in a news release.

“Since the time when the president signed the Panama, Colombia and Korea agreements into law, USDA has also acted to remove hundreds of unfair barriers to trade for American companies and provide businesses with the resources they need to reach new markets,” Vilsack added.

“These efforts have resulted in the most successful period in the history of American agriculture and a boon for America’s rural economies,” he said. “We are experiencing the strongest four years for agricultural exports in our nation’s history and are forecast to continue this record success in 2013.”