Yesterday, Ambassadors Kirk and Sapiro met with Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz and Miami-Dade County officials at the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in Washington, D.C.
Ambassador Kirk welcomed the group and shared updates on the ongoing work at USTR, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Commissioner Diaz thanked Ambassador Kirk for his efforts to enact free trade agreements and spoke specifically of the recently implemented Colombia and Panama trade agreements.
Eighty-six percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial goods to Panama became duty-free when the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement was implemented last month, offering benefits for a range of U.S. products, including information technology equipment, agricultural and construction equipment, aircraft and pharmaceuticals. The agreement also provides U.S. companies greater access to Panama's $22 billion services market, by eliminating measures that prevented Panamanian firms from hiring U.S. professionals as well as market restrictions in cable television.
In the five months following enactment of the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement earlier this year, U.S. goods exports to Colombia are up 20 percent over the same period last year. U.S. goods imports from Colombia for May to July 2012 were up 7 percent over the same period last year.
The group also discussed the Miami Free Zone, Miami-Dade County’s Foreign Trade Zone, the expansion of the Panama Canal, and PortMiami’s infrastructure.