Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Pushing Trade with Panama

(Toronto Sun – Laura Payton)

The federal government will present a law this fall to formally endorse a trade deal with Panama, International Trade Minister Peter Van Loan said Monday. Van Loan and Panamanian Commerce and Industry Minister Roberto Henríquez signed the agreement in May, but Canada still has to pass a law to bring it into force.

The government says the agreement will cut tariffs against raw Canadian goods like agricultural products, wood, pulp and paper products, seafood, and iron and steel, as well as finished exports like machinery, cars, aerospace and pharmaceuticals.

Panama had the highest GDP growth in the Americas in 2008. The country is expanding its famous canal, which should be done in 2014. The government hopes the expansion will mean more work in engineering and construction, and more material exports.

“Panama plays a pivotal role in the movement of goods around the world. This vital gateway is currently under expansion, a great opportunity to generate jobs and investment for Canadian companies,” Van Loan said.