March 21, 2012
On the eve of Expocomer business leaders from the United States and Latin America gathered Tuesday at the Miramar Intercontinental Hotel, for a high-powered meet-and-greet luncheon put on by the Southern Governors’ Association.
This was part of the build up to the 30th anniversary of Expocomer, in which over 500 companies from America, Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean will take part in a world trade showcase here in Panama City.
Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuño, Chairman of the Southern Governors’ Association, he encouraged commerce and policy leaders to collaborate in creating more economic opportunity in Panama, while developing the economy of the American South. “Economic success is measured by what creates the greatest good for the greatest number of people,” he said.
The Southern Governors’ Association is comprised of sixteen states and two territories, including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Viewed as a group, it is the fifth-largest economy in the world. 76% of U.S. exports came from the American South in 2011.
With the American South’s proximity to Latin America and its 60 ports and 74 airports, there is an immense potential for integrated trade with Latin America. Panama is of special interest because of the Canal.
The U.S. Congress ratified a Panama-U.S. Free Trade Agreement in 2011, but Panama still has to make some legal adjustments before the agreement can be implemented. Panamanian Minister of Commerce Ricardo Quijano expects the process to be complete by October 1.
Southern Governors’ Association (SGA), founded in 1934, is the oldest and historically the largest of the regional governors' associations. SGA uses the power of connection, collaboration and communications in a bipartisan manner to solve regional problems, improve quality of life and secure an economically vibrant and prosperous American South.