USTR - Joint Statement by Panama and the United States on the Fourth Round of US-Panama Free Trade Negotiations
Office of the United States Trade Representative

 

Joint Statement by Panama and the United States on the Fourth Round of US-Panama Free Trade Negotiations
08/18/2004


The United States and Panama met in Tampa, Florida the week of August 9th for the fourth round of negotiations to establish a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries.  Assistant United States Trade Representative for the Americas Regina Vargo led the U.S. delegation of 60 trade experts from 14 agencies.  Minister of Trade and Industry Joaquin Jacome led the Panamanian delegation of 40 experts.  This round was the last negotiating session under the current administration of President Mireya Moscoso who launched the talks on April 26, 2004.  To provide for continuity, Minister-designate Alejandro Ferrer of the incoming Torrijos administration and his team of experts also attended this round of negotiations.

Strong advances were made during this round in the areas of market access for industrial goods and banking services, an important sector of both of our economies.  Furthermore, technical rules have been established in areas as diverse as customs administration, services, intellectual property rights, transparency, labor, environment, and dispute settlement. Nonetheless, substantial work remains to be completed.

Unfortunately, the talks were interrupted on August 12th due to Hurricane Charley and related evacuation orders.  The United States and Panama look forward to a high level visit of Panamanian officials led by Minister-designate Ferrer next month in Washington after the inauguration of President-elect Torrijos on September 1, 2004.  A fifth round of negotiations is scheduled for October 18-22 in Panama City, Panama. 

Both delegations thank their Tampa hosts for their excellent support, especially during difficult times, and express their sympathy to the residents of Florida who experienced such tremendous losses from Hurricane Charley.

The United States and Panama met in Tampa, Florida the week of August 9th for the fourth round of negotiations to establish a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries.  Assistant United States Trade Representative for the Americas Regina Vargo led the U.S. delegation of 60 trade experts from 14 agencies.  Minister of Trade and Industry Joaquin Jacome led the Panamanian delegation of 40 experts.  This round was the last negotiating session under the current administration of President Mireya Moscoso who launched the talks on April 26, 2004.  To provide for continuity, Minister-designate Alejandro Ferrer of the incoming Torrijos administration and his team of experts also attended this round of negotiations.

Strong advances were made during this round in the areas of market access for industrial goods and banking services, an important sector of both of our economies.  Furthermore, technical rules have been established in areas as diverse as customs administration, services, intellectual property rights, transparency, labor, environment, and dispute settlement. Nonetheless, substantial work remains to be completed.

Unfortunately, the talks were interrupted on August 12th due to Hurricane Charley and related evacuation orders.  The United States and Panama look forward to a high level visit of Panamanian officials led by Minister-designate Ferrer next month in Washington after the inauguration of President-elect Torrijos on September 1, 2004.  A fifth round of negotiations is scheduled for October 18-22 in Panama City, Panama. 

Both delegations thank their Tampa hosts for their excellent support, especially during difficult times, and express their sympathy to the residents of Florida who experienced such tremendous losses from Hurricane Charley.

 
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