Caterpillar promotes Panama agreement
A Caterpillar executive testifying before the International Trade Commission last week said a Panama Trade Promotion Agreement would be beneficial for the United States, Panama and the region.
Tom Gales, vice president for Latin America for the earthmoving equipment maker, said expansion of the Panama Canal is one reason why duty-free trade is essential.
“The current canal is itself a trade barrier. Today, about 5 percent of all world trade passes through the Panama Canal, and much of that trade originates in the ports of Miami, New York City and Los Angeles. But with the canal at capacity and many of the newer, larger ships unable to use the canal, it takes longer than it should for some U.S. exports to reach overseas markets,” he said.
“An expanded canal would help fix that and allow many American manufacturers to be more competitive by shortening their supply chain and reducing inventories,” Gales added.
He contended that the proposed trade promotion agreement, which would eliminate tariffs ranging from 3 percent to 15 percent on Caterpillar products, would benefit his company and others in manufacturing, as well as farmers and service industries.
Caterpillar has also recently appeared before the U.S. International Trade Commission urging passage of Trade Promotion Agreements in Peru and Colombia.