U.S. Grains Council Officials says an unsettling trade barrier is brewing in Central America. Council Chairman Julius Schaaf says Panama’s government is going against the U.S. Panama free trade agreement by closing imports of U.S. corn for three and a half months beginning in 2014. He says attempts to resolve the problem are being effected by the U.S. government shut down.
Schaaf says they’re doing their best at the Council to try and find a resolution as the Central American market is an important one for U.S. growers.
He says the timing of the Panamanians actions seems to coincide with protecting their own domestic harvest of corn. He says they’re trying to reach an agreement informally partially because any trade action the U.S. would take needs the help of the USTR to instigate it.