Ambassador of the Republic of Panama Urges Memphians to be ‘ambassadors of Panama’

His Excellency Jaime Aleman Healy, Ambassador to the Republic of Panama to the United States, said he hopes to continue growth and interaction between Memphis and Panama in an address to local logistics professionals Friday.

Healy said while he understands there are big issues on the Obama administration’s economic agenda, the pending trade agreements of Columbia, Panama and South Korea will increase the competiveness in those markets, generating a much more effective means of diplomacy.

Nearly half of Panama’s total imports come from the United States. With the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) in effect, there will be an opportunity to expand trade relationships between the U.S. and Panama, eliminate tariff and barriers and improve the world economy.

Healy said not one job will be lost in the ratification of the treaty. In fact, the TPA will create more U.S. jobs and “not cost taxpayers one single penny.”

“There is no logical reason for the U.S. to not ratify the treaty,” Healy said. “I ask all of you to be ambassadors of Panama by talking to your friends, your partners and writing to your congressman.”

Healy also addressed what the Republic of Panama is best known for – the Panama Canal.

Over the next five years, the canal will double its capacity in a $5.3 billion expansion, allowing 12,000 containers to be transported instead of the 4,000 currently. The net profit is also estimated to grow from $750 million annually to $1.5 billion.

While many Atlantic ports will gain from this expansion, Healy said the port of Savanna, Georgia will most likely reap the most benefits from the canal’s expansion.

FedEx Express sponsored the luncheon and Healy’s first visit to Memphis.

“I hope we will continue to have growth and interaction between Memphis and Panama, and the best example of that is through FedEx,” Healy said. “We’re both important hubs.”