Bush says Panama trade agreement close
President Bush said Monday that the United States and Panama are close to completing a free trade agreement between the countries.
Speaking at a press conference in Panama City with Panamanian President Martin Torrijos, Bush said negotiations for a free trade agreement are progressing well.
'We're close to an agreement, and we'll continue to work on that agreement for the good of our respective peoples,' Bush said.
Asked if a trade agreement with Panama would have problems getting congressional approval in light of the narrow margin of approval for the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) earlier this year, Bush said there needs to be an agreement in place before anything can be accomplished in Congress.
'The first step is to get the agreement done, and we're getting close,' Bush said.
He added that he and Torrijos had discussed the need to work with the U.S. Congress, and that Panamanian officials and U.S. supporters would need to actively lobby for a Panamanian trade agreement.
The CAFTA agreement included El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras and Costa Rica.