WASHINGTON, April 18, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Juan Carlos Varela, Vice President and Foreign Minister of the Republic of Panama, issued the following statement in response to today's announcement by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative that it was ready to move to the next stage of the process of finalizing the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement, beginning technical discussions with Members of Congress on the draft implementing bill and draft Statement of Administrative Action:
"The announcement by USTR is very welcome news and puts Panama and the United States on a clear path to finalize a trade agreement that will promote economic growth and development between our countries and expand job opportunities for Panamanian and American workers.
"Panama's economy continues to grow into a very significant destination for U.S. companies and investors. Panama's imports increased by nearly twenty percent from 2009 to 2010 and Foreign Direct Investment grew five percent over the same period. In addition, Panama's investment grade debt rating further solidified our status as one of the leading global markets for international investment and financial services.
"We look forward to working closely with the Obama Administration and Members of Congress to pass the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement at the earliest possible opportunity to begin realizing the excellent economic benefits it offers both countries."
Distributed by HDMK, LLC on behalf of the Republic of Panama. Additional information is on file at the Department of Justice, Washington DC.
SOURCE Republic of Panama