Original Press Release
NAM Urges Speedy, Favorable Senate Action on U.S. - Panama Trade Promotion Agreement
Press release date: May 21, 2009
Pact Should Be Called "the Buy American Agreement"
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 21, 2009 - National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Vice President for International Economic Policy Frank Vargo issued the following statement commending the Senate Finance Committee for holding a hearing today on the U.S. - Panama Trade Promotion Agreement and urged the Senate to move rapidly to approve the pact:
The NAM commends Senate Finance Chairman Baucus and Ranking Minority Senator Grassley for holding today's hearing on the U.S. - Panama Trade Promotion Agreement. The more facts that can be brought to light, the clearer it will become that delay in approving the agreement will only harm U.S. manufacturing.
American manufacturers already export $4.5 billion annually to Panama despite the fact that about 40 percent of U.S. exports to Panama face import tariffs of 10 percent or more. The agreement would eliminate those tariffs, making the price of many U.S. products 10-15 percent lower than competing products from other countries. More sales to Panama means more jobs in the U.S.
That is enough of a price shift to induce Panamanian importers to purchase more U.S. exports instead of competitor products. Favored access for products that will be needed for the expansion of the Panama Canal - one of the world's largest construction projects - is especially important. That's why we call the Panama agreement a "Buy American Agreement."
We know that some in Congress fear an onslaught of manufactured goods imports from Panama. However, last year, U.S. manufactured goods imports from Panama were valued at $117 million - 1/40th as large as U.S. manufactured goods exports to Panama.
In fact, we import as many manufactured goods from Panama in a year as we do every three hours from China even though Panama's manufactured goods exports to the U.S. are already virtually duty-free. According to U.S. import statistics, last year the average U.S. tariff on Panamanian manufactured goods was only 0.2 percent.
That's why delaying a vote on the Panama agreement hurts manufacturing in America. The Administration and Congress should act now to approve the U.S. - Panama Trade Promotion Agreement.
The National Association of Manufacturers is the nation's largest industrial trade association, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the NAM has 11 additional offices across the country. Visit the NAM's web site at www.nam.org for more information about manufacturing and the economy.
1331 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20004-1790