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Panamanians are willing to review trade deal with the U.S.

Panama City, Aug 22 (Prensa Latina) Rice producers from five Panamanian provinces backed on Tuesday President Laurentino Cortizo’s decision on reviewing a Trade Promotion Deal (TPD) with the United States.

The deal on tariff relief has been in force since 2012 disfavoring local farmers; hence, Washington refuses to review that text, which triggers Panamanian negative impacts for delivering products such as rice, pork, chicken and dairy products.

Rice growers from Los Santos, Cocle, Chiriqui, Veraguas, East Panama and Darien towns sent a letter to Cortizo, who recently announced he would be willing to travel to the U.S. to lead a new delegation in those negotiations.

In a meeting with ranchers last week, the head of State explained the need to review the deal, a request made in July to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo during her visit to Panama.

Panama and the United States signed the TPD on June 28, 2007 on tariff relief. The deal affects key items of local production such as rice, dairy products, chicken and pork; and frees over 87% of the exports of industrial and consumer goods from the U.S. to Panama from tariffs.

Over a year ago, the Minister of Agricultural Development Augusto Valderrama warned that if the United States rejected to review the deal, Panama would have to look for other alternatives and the more likely would be to trade those products with others countries as China.