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Thursday, September 19 2019 @ 02:11 am EDT

Panama-US trade talks advance

Money Matters PANAMA CITY – Panama’s Minister of Commerce and Industry flew to the United States on Sunday to resolve differences that have stalled the signing of a free-trade accord between the two nations. “We are going to discuss what will be the next steps and the agenda for the free-trade accord,” Alejandro Ferrer said in a news conference before heading to Houston, Texas, and Washington D.C. Panama and the United States had planned to sign a free-trade agreement in January after more than a year of negotiations. However, the deal was put on hold when Panama refused to relax its rigorous sanitary controls on agricultural imports.

Panama says the controls have kept the nation free from plagues such as mad cow disease and bird flu. Last month, Panama’s agricultural minister resigned over the issue, saying he would not compromise on public health by bowing to U.S. demands.
On Monday in Houston, Ferrer was to talk with representatives of oil companies about plans to build a new refinery in Panama’s western Chiriqui province. AP
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