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“That’s why the pressure is on America,” she said. “The clock is ticking.”

The agreement with Panama will provide a number of opportunities for service companies in the United States, particularly those that cater to the Panama Canal, Mr. Farnsworth said. That could mean ship maintenance, loading and unloading, and fueling.

“Frankly, I think we need to do all of them,” Miss Overby said. “While America has taken a time out on trade, the rest of the world has moved forward. We need to get them all done, and we need to get them all done yesterday.”