All Treats, No Tricks: Panama Trade Agreement Enters Into Force
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This particular Halloween is about much more than ghosts, goblins and zombies – it’s also about huevitos de leche.
Huevitos de leche are a delicious Panamanian specialty candy made of milk and shaped like an egg. And while huevitos have been entering the United States duty free for years, American candies have not enjoyed the same duty-free status in Panama.
According to the U.S. Trade Representative's Office:
“Beginning October 31st, Panama will eliminate tariffs on more than 86% of U.S. industrial and consumer goods. Almost half of U.S. agricultural goods, which currently face average tariffs of 15%, will immediately become duty-free. All tariffs on industrial goods will be eliminated within 10 years, and most of the remaining tariffs on agricultural goods will be eliminated over the next 15 years.”
Hopefully, one of the first products to benefit from the agreement will be delicious, amazing American candy—just like the various fun-sized marvels that will be filling little Halloween buckets tonight. Panama is considered one of Latin America’s fastest-growing economies and total confectionery and chocolate sales to the country are estimated at nearly $64 million, of which 42% or $27 million, are made up of U.S. gum, candy and chocolate, according to the National Confectioner’s Association.
“While imports from the U.S. are the top imports in all segments, there is close competition by imports of candy and gum from Mexico and Colombia. Under the U.S.-Panama FTA, Panama’s duties on imports of chocolate confectionery and cocoa inputs will be eliminated immediately upon implementation, which will help U.S. exports maintain dominant market share.”
As the Chamber’s Myron Brilliant told The Hill last week:
“This critical agreement will ignite economic growth and job creation in the U.S. and Panama. With this step, we can take the century-old U.S.-Panama alliance to the next level.”
So today, on this most spooky of holidays, let us celebrate jobs, economic growth and more chocolate.