WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on Oct. 23 that the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement (Panama TPA) enters into force the week of Oct. 29. The agreement eliminates tariffs and other barriers to U.S. goods and services, promotes economic growth and enhances trade between the United States and Panama, Vilsack said.
As a result of the agreement, Panama will establish two preferential rice tariff rate quotas (TRQs) for rice totaling 12,190 tonnes, including 7,950 tonnes of rough rice and 4,240 tonnes of milled rice. The TRQs will grow by 6%, compounded each year, and will be phased out in 20 years.  U.S. rice exports to Panama averaged 71,000 tonnes in 2007-11, so a portion of current U.S. exports will now enter duty free. 
Panama is an important market for U.S. farmers and ranchers. Last year, the U.S. exported more than $504 million of agricultural products to Panama, one of the fastest-growing economies in Latin America.