U.S.- Panama Trade Promotion Agreement
The United States and Panama signed a trade promotion agreement, sometimes called a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), on June 28, 2007. Panama approved the TPA on July 11, 2007. The TPA was signed into law in the United States on October 21, 2011.
U.S.-Panama FTA is a comprehensive free trade agreement that can result in significant liberalization of trade in goods and services, including financial services. It also 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.
U.S. firms will have better access to Panama's services sector than it provides to other WTO Members under the General Agreement on Tarrifs in Services. All services sectors are covered under the agreement except where Panama has made specific exceptions. Moreover, Panama agreed to become a full participant in the WTO Information Technology Agreement.
Panama has also entered into a bilateral agreement with the United States resolving a number of regulatory barriers to trade in agricultural goods ranging from meat and poultry to processed products, including dairy and rice. USTR is currently working to address outstanding issues regarding the Panama FTA, including labor and tax policies.
President Obama is committed to pursuing an ambitious trade agenda that will help grow our economy and support good jobs for U.S. workers by opening new markets. To achieve that objective, we seek to provide a level playing field that creates economic opportunities for U.S. workers, companies, farmers, and ranchers, and that ensures our trading partners have acceptable working conditions and respect fundamental labor rights. As part of this broader trade agenda, the Obama Administration has worked closely with the government of Panama to resolve outstanding issues related to the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement.
On April 18, 2011, a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) went into effect between the United States and Panama. The TIEA will permit the two countries to improve their tax information exchange transparency networks globally. The Government of Panama has also taken a series of legislative and administrative actions to further strengthen its labor laws and enforcement. The completion of action on transparency and labor clears the way for the Obama Administration to begin discussions with Members of Congress about the draft implementing bill for the Agreement.
Panama is one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America, expanding 6.2 percent in 2010, with similar annual growth forecast through 2015. The U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement will support American jobs, expand markets, and enhance U.S. competitiveness by eliminating tariffs and other barriers to U.S. exports and expanding trade between our two countries.