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AIIS sees Panama Canal coop deal by year-end

Oct 13, 2014 | 05:01 PM | Nat Rudarakanchana

NEW YORK — The American Institute for International Steel (AIIS) will sign a joint cooperation agreement with the Panama Canal Authority by the end of the year, and likely within the next month, Richard Chriss, the association’s executive director, told AMM.

"Our agreement is related to promoting steel-related trade that flows through the Panama Canal to the United States and to different markets," he said. That trade includes both U.S. imports and exports, he said.

"The agreement has latitude for a number of cooperative actions. Those will be determined once the agreement enters into force," Chriss said. The two groups could develop joint proposals and projects, including strategic business partnerships or ventures, as follow-ups, he added.

The Port of Houston Authority has a similar agreement in place with the Panama Canal Authority, which was renewed in 2011 and includes joint marketing and data sharing.

Although some U.S. ports have already worked out similar individual agreements with the Panama Canal Authority, the benefits of this agreement will extend to all of AIIS’ member ports once the memorandum of understanding is in force, according to Chriss.

Falls Church, Va.-based AIIS has 15 port authorities as members, including Houston, the nation’s largest trade port, as well as the Georgia Ports Authority and the Port of Mobile, Ala.

Improving infrastructure for the canal is key to boosting trade in bulk commodities, according to Chriss. Combining Panama Canal upgrades with successful Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations could help mitigate mediocre economic growth, and the AIIS is active on both these fronts, he said.

The 2015 expansion of the Panama Canal could boost U.S. imports and exports of finished steel and scrap, a U.S. government study found in 2013 (amm.com, Dec. 5, 2013).

The expansion is also expected to create more jobs at U.S. ports as larger vessels appear at ports on the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico (amm.com, Jan. 2).

 

 

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