The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service is accepting applications from U.S. exporters for a regional trade mission to Panama City, Panama from March 19-23, 2023.
“Panama is the economic, financial, and logistics and transport hub for Central America and this trade mission will provide us with an exciting opportunity to expand our growing presence across the region,” said FAS Administrator Daniel Whitley. “This is a perfect time to expand U.S. agricultural and food exports to Central America, where the rising incomes and a growing middle class in Central America are driving demand for consumer-oriented products and more.”
During the mission, FAS staff and regional experts will provide in-depth market briefings while in country. The agency will also arrange targeted business to business meetings for U.S. agribusinesses with potential customers from Panama, a bilateral Free Trade Agreement partner, as well as buyers from countries in the multilateral Central America and Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic.
Combined total agricultural exports to CAFTA-DR countries and Panama totaled a record $7.6 billion in 2021, up 50 percent since 2017. In 2022, agricultural product exports are on track to exceed that figure by nearly 25 percent. Guatemala is the largest country by population in the region while the Dominican Republic is the largest economy and the United States’ largest agricultural product export market in the region. Costa Rica and Panama are both important tourism destinations and are home to thousands of American and international expats, helping to drive demand for high-quality imported food products. Moreover, Panama is a global top-five per capita consumer of U.S. food exports.
The region offers strong capabilities in logistics, distribution, processing, cold chain, and more. Strong opportunities exist for exporters across many industries, including but not limited to:
- consumer and processor-oriented food;
- dairy products;
- beer and wine;
- snacks and packaged foods;
- health functional foods, such as gluten and sugar free, keto, and organics.