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Ambassador Kirk Reviews Progress with Panamanian Commerce and Industry Minister Ricardo Quijano

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk met today with Panamanian Commerce and Industry Minister Ricardo Quijano to discuss progress on the implementation of the U.S.-Panama trade agreement. Ambassador Kirk highlighted the importance of Panama as a vital commercial partner and cited the pending expansion of the Panama Canal as a critical opportunity for increased trade to support American jobs. Both Ambassador Kirk and Minister Quijano agreed to continue working intensively to bring the Agreement into force as quickly as possible, while ensuring that all obligations are fully met.

 

Ambassador Kirk meets with Panamanian Commerce and industry Minister Quijano

Efforts are proceeding with a sense of urgency as both the United States and Panama are eager to seize the benefits of a win-win agreement that will enhance both trade between and jobs in our countries. For U.S. exporters, the benefits are clear: the U.S.-Panama trade agreement creates significant liberalization of trade in goods and services, including financial services.

Nearly 90 percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products to Panama will be duty-free immediately upon entry into force of the agreement, with remaining tariffs on these products phased out over ten years. The agreement also provides for immediate duty-free treatment for over half of U.S. agricultural exports to Panama (by value) with duties on most other agricultural goods phased out between 5 to 12 years and 15 to 20 years on certain agricultural products.

Along with these tariff reductions, the agreement includes important disciplines relating to customs administration and trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade, government procurement, investment, telecommunications, electronic commerce, intellectual property rights, and labor and environmental protection. All of these measures will create a level playing field for U.S. exporters competing in Panama’s critical market.