SLC Delegation for U.S.-Panama Political and Commercial Relations
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September 26-29, 2018 | Panama Canal, Panama
SLC Economic Development, Transportation & Cultural Affairs Committee Technical Tour

U.S.-Panama Political and Commercial Relations

A delegation of legislative officers from the Southern Legislative Conference traveled to Panama City, Panama, to gain insight into the political and commercial relationships between the United States and Panama. During the three-day policy study tour, participants received briefings from officials at the U.S. Embassy and American Chamber of Commerce & Industry and toured the newly expanded Panama Canal.

At the Panama Canal, participants met with Panamanian officials to learn about the canal’s historical significance to the U.S. economy and how the recent expansion, completed in 2016, has supported commerce across the Southern region. Delegation members were briefed on the types of cargo that typically pass through the canal, as well as the tonnage and most common routes of vessels. Among all global trading routes, the Panama Canal remains the most favored option for companies transporting goods from Asia to the U.S. market, with many eventually passing through Southern state ports. Participants also had an opportunity to visit the Miraflores and Cocoli locks to see, first hand, how the canal handles large vessels while they are in transit.

During briefings at the U.S. Embassy, delegation members spoke at length with government officials about the overall political, economic and security climate inside Panama. Details about the broader challenges and opportunities for U.S. officials driving government policy in the country, as well as the various initiatives being considered to maintain successful political, social and economic relations between the United States and Panama, were provided.

At the American Chamber of Commerce & Industry, participants heard from economic development experts regarding U.S.-Panama commercial ties, focusing on how officials from both nations can facilitate robust bilateral trading in the future. Delegation members shared their thoughts on the perception of Panama within the United States and how Panamanian corporate leaders can increase their exposure to U.S. officials at the state and local level.

Delegation members included legislators from Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi.