A delegation of Missouri officials is leaving tomorrow for a trade mission to Panama. Governor Jay Nixon (D) is leading the group that will focus on growing exports and attracting additional foreign investment in Missouri.
Panama is especially important for Missouri exports, the Governor said, because the Panama Canal transports an estimated 5% of the world’s total cargo – including 60% of U.S. grain exports. A historic expansion of the canal to accommodate even larger ocean-going ships is expected to be completed this year, which will benefit exporters of bulk commodities, such as agricultural goods. The larger ships are expected to result in freight rate savings, especially for grain shipments from the U.S. Gulf of Mexico to Asia.
“The expansion of the Panama Canal has the potential to further increase Missouri exports – by making it even easier to ship agricultural goods around the world,” Nixon said. “This trade mission will help ensure Missouri is ready to capitalize on the opportunities created by this historic expansion, and continue feeding, fueling and clothing the world.”
In 2014, Panama received more than $22.5 million in Missouri goods and commodities.
In addition to trade discussions, Nixon and Major General Stephen Danner, adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard, will take part in a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the Missouri National Guard State Partnership Program with Panama. The partnership program, which pairs U.S. state National Guards with other nations around the globe, has led to joint training, including in the areas of disaster relief, humanitarian assistance and hazardous materials emergency response, between Missouri and Panama. The program has also built roads, bridges, schools, medical clinics and water purification systems in Panama and helped forge humanitarian efforts between private, non-governmental organizations in Missouri and Panama.
The March 2-5 trip also includes First Lady Georganne Nixon; Mike Downing, Director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development; Richard Fordyce, Director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture; and Lane Roberts, Director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety.