LatinNews Daily - 21 March 2023

In brief: Panama’s Cortizo discusses trade with US official

*Panama’s President Laurentino Cortizo has met with the US Department of Agriculture’s Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, Alexis Taylor who arrived in Panama City to launch a regional agribusiness trade mission. According to a press release by Panama’s trade & industry ministry (MICI), the two discussed the US-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) which has been in effect since 2012. A press release by the US Department of Agriculture’s foreign agricultural service (FAS) notes that Taylor and her delegation of representatives from 26 agribusiness and farm organisations and two state departments of agriculture are seeking to develop stronger ties and build economic partnerships between US and Panama and markets throughout the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) region. According to FAS, US agricultural product exports to Panama and the CAFTA-DR member countries topped US$8.8bn in 2022. The press release cites Taylor as expressing confidence that “the next few days will produce mutually beneficial results to help expand trade and increase collaboration on key issues impacting agriculture” in the US and sub-region. This week, local staff from FAS Panama City will host business meetings between US trade mission delegates and companies from Central America, seeking to import US food and farm products. According to the FAS press release, the trade mission itinerary also includes bilateral meetings with Panamanian government officials, retail promotions featuring US products, and a memorandum of understanding signing between the US Grains Council and Panama’s sugar cane industry on ethanal blending.

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