An elite U.S. Grains Council delegation was the first group to meet with key officials in Panama and Colombia since U.S. passage of the Colombia and Panama free trade agreements. The team explored the outlook for FTA implementation with government officials in both countries, with private sector grain customers, and with U.S. ambassadors and USDA staff. National Corn Growers Association Chairman Bart Schott, who spent much of his year as NCGA president working for U.S. ratification of the agreements, said, – our purpose was to see how far those folks have gone on implementing the FTAs.
Schott says – in Colombia, we met with a couple of big conglomerates, and they are very excited about the new FTA. Some thought it would be implemented by April, some said June, and some said the end of the year. According to Schott, -it sounds like implementation will progress smoothly in Panama and Colombia, and we’ll be back exporting corn to them.
Schott notes that – both countries are currently sourcing corn from Argentina, and it’s very good quality. However, excitement about the shipping advantage with U.S. feed grains is clear. Panamanian customers, for example, can place an order and receive their shipment within five days.
NAFB News Service