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Panama's Request For Panel Over Columbian Import Restrictions Denied

by Mike Godfrey, Tax-News.com, Washington

02 October 2007


The World Trade Organization's Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) has in the past week discussed a first time request from Panama for a panel to examine Colombia's import restrictions.

According to a report issued by the WTO, Panama stated that its action referred to restrictive measures imposed by Colombia on imports from Panama since June 2005, adding that in 2006, consultations between the two countries led to a “mutually satisfactory agreement” and to the withdrawal of the measures (this was notified to the DSB in December 2006).

This week, however, Panama claimed that these measures have been reintroduced, and that new consultations in July 2007 have not led to a satisfactory solution.

According to Panama, these new restrictions were: The setting of indicative prices for certain products originating in Panama for custom valuation purposes, leading to a treatment less favourable for Panamanian exports than that given to similar Colombian products.

The Panamanian authorities additionally complained of restrictive measures concerning the use of port of entries into Colombia for certain Panamanian products, mostly textiles and shoes, and argued that other “discriminatory restrictions” only applied to goods of Panamanian origin.

Colombia declared that consultations were held on 31 July, and argued that the measures now being denounced by Panama were compatible with WTO provisions. Colombia replied to 31 questions posed by Panama during the consultations, but did not agree to the establishment of a panel.


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