Media Center

Press Release


  June 28, 2007

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, expressed satisfaction today for the accomplishment reached between the United States and Panama after both nations signed the Trade Promotion Agreement at OAS headquarters.

Insulza noted that this pact marks “major progress for the region,” because it eliminates some existing commerce barriers. Adding that he is optimistically awaiting for the North American legislators, who will now discuss the issue, to take the appropriate measures in the following months for its final approval.

Making reference to other countries that have signed this type of agreement, the head of the OAS said that “the average salaries in the industries that export to the United States are greater than the general average salaries in those countries.”

Insulza acknowledged that there are some sectors who are critical towards the opening of markets, which he underscored may be due to ideological principles “that I respect, because not everyone must think alike; and, naturally we live in a pluralistic world.” In this regard, the Secretary General added that there are some countries who rightly justified still do not show interest in signing trade agreements since “the negotiations that are offered to them do not respond to their interests and that is something that needs to be examined. Not every country is the same and what may suit one nation may not suit another, therefore we must not criticize in any case those countries that do not want to negotiate these agreements,” he explained.

The Secretary General recalled that the Summits of the Americas have ratified numerous times their commitment to trade issues and said that the OAS will continue fulfilling its duties and mandates in this field. “The issue of free trade is an issue approved by the meetings of Heads of State of governments of the Americas, therefore I will be consistent to the agreements of the Organization and, particularly, of the Summits,” Insulza said.

The U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement was signed by the Minister of Commerce and Industry of Panama, Alejandro Ferrer and the United States Trade Representative, Susan Schwab.

“The agreement that we signed today will open a new chapter in our historic economic partnership,” Schwab said. She explained that the treaty will benefit Panamanian and US workers, consumers, manufacturers, farmers and ranchers. It will also “create new jobs, generate new business and exports opportunities and provide enhanced stability and security across the Western Hemisphere, she added.

For his part, Minister Ferrer reiterated that both countries coincide in the “the importance of strengthening democratic values and in the belief that economic liberties and the flow of goods, investments and ideas contribute to social peace.”

Reference: E-159/07