Panama offers a key strategic location for US exporters to sell their goods and also to move them throughout the hemisphere via the Panama Canal. With canal expansion slated for completion in 2014, US companies in the machinery, infrastructure, and services sectors are anxious to see the FTA carried out to boost sales, exports, and employment opportunities for American workers. The agreement will also pave the way for more trade between the two nations, which reached $6.1 billion in 2010.
Finally, the South Korea agreement represents the most economically significant trade deal that the US has embarked on since the North American Free Trade Agreement. All told, the South Korea FTA is expected to increase US exports by $11 billion, spur economic growth by nearly $12 billion, and support at least 70,000 American jobs.
At a time when the world economy has been stagnant, South Korea’s economic growth exceeded 6 percent last year, making it the world’s 15th largest economy. Opposition to the deal from domestic automakers and beef producers has been handled in agreements reached by the US and South Korean governments, and the South Korea FTA now enjoys widespread support – from the United Auto Workers and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association to big business.