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Chamber Welcomes Proposed U.S.-Panama Trade Talks

Monday, November 17, 2003 - 7:00pm

Agreement Will Add Momentum to Regional Trade

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United States Chamber of Commerce applauded today's announcement by the Bush administration that the United States will initiate negotiations for a free trade agreement with Panama, calling the country a valuable trading partner and ally.

"A U.S.–Panama free trade agreement will not only create opportunities for U.S. and Panamanian businesses, consumers and workers, it will encourage Panama to continue advancing on a path towards good governance, accountability, and rule of law," said Daniel W. Christman, the Chamber's senior vice president for international affairs.

Panama is already highly integrated with the U.S. economy. In addition to a fully dollarized economy, Panama had two-way trade with the U.S. that reached $1.7 billion last year. Recent privatization programs have helped Panama attract billions of dollars in U.S. foreign direct investment.

"This initiative must not detract from the effort to complete the Free Trade Area of the Americas, which remains our top hemispheric priority," added Christman. "But with Panama's Central American neighbors zeroing in on a free trade agreement with the U.S., this is an opportunity to accelerate the push for hemispheric integration."

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation, representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.

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