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Panama And US Signal End Of Trade Promotion Agreement Talks

by Glen Shapiro, LawAndTax-News.com, New York

21 December 2006


The United States and Panama announced this week that they have completed negotiations on a free trade agreement, with the understanding that it is subject to further discussions regarding labor.

This comprehensive trade agreement will eliminate tariffs and other barriers to trade of goods and services, expand trade between the United States and Panama, and promote economic growth and opportunity. The conclusion of the negotiations with Panama was announced on Tuesday by US Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab and Alejandro Ferrer, Panama’s Minister of Trade and Industry.

“This historic agreement between two good friends and close partners will promote economic growth and development in both of our countries,” observed Ms Schwab. She continued:

“Panama is an important ally in the region. We are pleased to be able to advance our long-standing friendship and deepen our trading relations with Panama."

"This comprehensive agreement significantly cuts trade barriers and expands opportunities for American workers, consumers, farmers and ranchers, manufacturers, and service providers. We have reached this agreement with the understanding that it is subject to additional discussions on labor. Before submitting the agreement to Congress, we will work with both sides of the aisle to ensure strong bipartisan support for the agreement."

New provisions on customs administration contained in the agreement aim to enhance the transparency and efficiency of trade between the United States and Panama.

For example, the agreement establishes a monitoring program for Panama’s free trade zones that will help guard against circumvention of customs rules. Important provisions on trade security will facilitate secure and reliable trade in goods from all over the world that pass through Panama.

The agreement will eliminate nearly 90% of Panama’s tariffs on industrial goods immediately, with remaining tariffs phased out over 10 years.


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