Buchanan To Chair Panama Caucus

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Sarasota) announced Jan. 3 that he has been elevated to chairman of the congressional Friends of Panama Caucus. Buchanan says he will focus his efforts on creating Florida jobs and enhancing the ability of Port Manatee to capitalize on the expansion of the Panama Canal.

"Jobs and the economy are the most important issue," said Buchanan. "As the chairman of the Friends of Panama Caucus, I will work to create Florida jobs by promoting new trade opportunities and positioning Port Manatee to benefit from the expansion of the Panama Canal."

Buchanan's chairmanship is welcome news to Port Manatee Executive Director David L. McDonald PPM®. "Representative Buchanan has been an ardent supporter of Port Manatee and we look forward to working with him to strengthen ties with our Panamanian allies and helping to boost the economy."

Port Manatee is the closet deepwater port to the Panama Canal, which is scheduled to double its capacity by 2014. Last year, Buchanan traveled to Panama with then Panamanian Ambassador to the United States Jaime Eduardo Aleman, and hosted the Ambassador at Port Manatee. In Panama, he met with the President of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli, and business leaders.

Another one of Buchanan's goals is for Congress to ratify the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement.

Buchanan first became a member of the Caucus in 2009. As the chairman he will lead efforts to foster greater economic development opportunities in the United States by engaging Panamanian perspectives on issues of mutual interest and by being a source in Congress on U.S.-Panama relations.

The Democrat Chair of the Caucus, Jim Matheson said, "I am excited to work with Rep. Buchanan on this important economic issue. The breakthrough on the Korean trade agreement provides new energy and momentum for progress on trade. Democrats and Republicans should continue advancing the free trade agenda that holds so much promise for peacefully engaging with the world and strengthening America's economic future."

Buchanan is also a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, which has jurisdiction over international trade policy.

Port of Manatee, Deepwater