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Canada, Panama FTA Receives Royal Assent

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

17 December 2012

Canadian legislation to give effect to a comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) with Panama has received Royal Assent. With both sides having now completed their domestic ratification processes, they will soon proceed to set a date for the deal's entry into force.

Once implemented, the FTA will eliminate tariffs on more than 90% of Canadian goods exported to Panama. In particular, the Canadian Finance Ministry anticipates that Canadian exporters in a variety of sectors, including aerospace, pharmaceuticals, pulp and paper, and agriculture and agri-food, will benefit. In addition, Canadian suppliers will receive preferred access to the government procurement market in Panama, where the government has a five-year plan to invest in major infrastructure projects worth USD13.6bn.

Panama is Canada’s second-largest export market in Central America. Bilateral merchandise trade reached USD240m 2011, up 10.1% on the previous year.

Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, said of the deal: “Panama is one of the fastest-growing markets in the Americas and a strategic gateway to Latin America. This agreement is a key part of our government’s plan to open new markets to increase Canadian exports as part of the most ambitious trade expansion plan in our nation’s history.”

Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs), added: "The Canada-Panama Free Trade Agreement is a key step toward deepening the long-standing relationship between our two countries. Canada is committed to strong economic partnerships that will contribute to enhanced prosperity right across the Americas. By being a reliable partner in the region, our government is creating new opportunities for Canadian workers and their families."

TAGS: Finance | free trade agreement (FTA) | tariffs | trade treaty | food | agreements | legislation | Canada | trade | Panama

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