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Recent News


February 4, 2014:
USTR Director for Environment and Natural Resources Sarah Stewart Participates in Inaugural Environment Meetings with the Government of Panama


October 23, 2012:

Blog Post: U.S. and Panama Set Date for Entry-Into-Force of the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement



October 22, 2012:
United States, Panama Set Date for Entry into Force of United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement 


October 21, 2011:
Statement By U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk On Presidential Signature Of Trade Legislation


October 13, 2011
Statements Regarding the Congressional Approval of the Korea, Colombia, and Panama Trade Agreements


From Enactment To Entry Into Force: Next Steps On The Trade Agreements


October 12, 2011:
Statement By U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk On Congressional Passage Of Trade Agreements, Trade Adjustment Assistance And Key Preference Programs


October 3, 2011
U.S Trade Representative Ron Kirk Calls for Swift Passage of Trade Agreements


  • The United States – Panama Trade Promotion Agreement: Implementing Legislation and Supporting Documentation


  • Statements Regarding the President’s Submission to Congress of the South Korea, Colombia, and Panama Trade Agreements


  • The Pending Trade Agreements: More American Jobs, Faster Economic Recovery Through Exports

  • September 2011

    United States - Panama Trade Promotion Agreement: Final Environmental Review

    August 3,2011
    Kirk Comment on Pending Trade Agreements, Trade Adjustment Assistance



    July 7, 2011
    USTR Kirk Comments Following Trade Markups In Senate Finance, House Ways and Means Committees


    July 5, 2011
    Statement from USTR Kirk Regarding Announcement of House Ways & Means Committee Markup


    June 30, 2011
    Ambassador Kirk Statement Regarding the Planned Informal Markup in The Senate Finance Committee


    June 29, 2011:
    INFO: Links on Pending Trade Agreements, TAA, Preference Programs


    June 28, 2011:
    U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk Welcomes Next Steps on Pending Trade Pacts, Trade Adjustment Assistance


    May 11, 2011
    Testimony of Deputy United States Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro Before the Senate Finance Committee


    April 18, 2011
    Ambassador Ron Kirk Announces Next Step for U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement

    Important U.S.-Panama Links

    Port of MiamiBenefits for Your Industry: USTR Fact Sheets

    Panama is one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America, expanding 6.2 percent in 2010, with similar annual growth forecast through 2015. This comprehensive Agreement will eliminate tariffs and other barriers to U.S. exports, promote economic growth, and expand trade between our two countries.  Visit USTR's Fact Sheet page to find out how the agreement will specifically benefit your sector.


    Tractor in a fieldBenefits for Your Farm: Agriculture Fact Sheets

    Panama is an important market for America’s farmers and ranchers. In 2010, the United States exported over $450 million of agricultural products to Panama, more than double U.S. agricultural exports to Panama in 2005. Top U.S. exports were corn, soybean cake and meal, wheat, rice, and horticultural products. Visit the Department of Agriculture's website to find out how the agreement will benefit your sector.


    Manufacturing PlantBenefits for Your Sector: Industry Fact Sheets: Benefits for Your Sector

    Over 87 percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products to Panama will become duty-free immediately, with remaining tariffs phased out over ten years. U.S. products that will gain immediate duty-free access include information technology equipment, agricultural and construction equipment, aircraft and parts, medical and scientific equipment, environmental products, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, and agro-chemicals. Visit the Department of Commerce's website to find out how the agreement will benefit your sector.  


    AgreementFull Text of the Agreement

    Read the full text of the U.S.-Panama trade agreement, which is an integral part of the President’s efforts to increase opportunities for U.S. businesses, farmers and workers through improved access for their products and services in foreign markets, and supports the President’s National Export Initiative goal of doubling of U.S. exports in 5 years.

    Support for the U.S.-Panama Trade Agreement

    Statements of support for the U.S.-Panama Trade Agreement from various elected officials, the business community, and advocacy groups can be found below.


    Visit Your Government Trade Partners

    Visit USTR's partners across the federal government to learn more about their part in the trade agreement.

    Department of Agriculture Seal     Department of Agriculture

    Commerce Seal     Commerce Department

    Labor Department Seal     Department of Labor

    OMB Seal     Office of Management and Budget

    Export Import Bank Seal      Export-Import Bank

    SBA Seal      Small Business Administration

    OPIC Seal      Overseas Private Investment Corp.

    USTDA Seal      Trade and Development Agency

    State Department Seal      State Department

    Labor in the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement: Protecting And Enhancing Labor Rights

    Trade Agreement Home  •  Key Facts  •  Your Community

    Hard Hat and GlovesThe Agreement sets high standards for protecting workers’ rights. The Agreement includes obligations for Panama to protect fundamental labor rights as well as to effectively enforce existing labor laws, which will enable American workers and businesses to compete on a level playing field. The Agreement contains groundbreaking labor protections that were first outlined on May 10, 2007, in a bipartisan, Congressional-Executive agreement to incorporate high labor standards into America’s trade agreements.


    The Agreement includes a commitment to all of the elements agreed to in the May 10, 2007 bipartisan Congressional-Executive agreement:

    • Commitment by the United States and Panama to adopt and maintain in domestic law the five fundamental labor rights as stated in the 1998 International Labor Organization (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. These include:

     Freedom of association – the right to form and join a union;

     The right to collective bargaining;

     Elimination of all forms of compulsory or forced labor;

     Effective abolition of child labor and a prohibition on the worst forms of child labor; and

     Elimination of employment and occupation discrimination based on gender, race, or other factors.

    • Commitment not to waive or otherwise fail to apply labor laws in a manner affecting trade and investment.

    • Commitment to effectively enforce fundamental labor rights, as well as wage and hour and occupational safety and health laws.

    • Commitment to establish procedures that allow members of the public to raise concerns about labor violations directly with either of the two governments, which must be reviewed and considered.

    • Commitment to guarantee workers and employers access to tribunals where rights can be enforced and to ensure that proceedings before those tribunals are fair, equitable, and transparent.

    • Commitment to improve labor standards and to cooperate on a wide range of labor issues, including labor relations, labor inspection, employment opportunities and working conditions.

    • Commitment to the same level of dispute settlement accountability for meeting labor obligations as for meeting commercial obligations. Available remedies for violations of labor commitments will include trade sanctions and fines.


    Panama has undertaken a series of major legislative and administrative actions since 2009 to further strengthen its labor laws and labor enforcement. Panama has reformed labor laws to protect the right to strike, eliminate restrictions on collective bargaining, and protect the rights of temporary workers. Panama has taken administrative actions to address concerns in the areas of subcontracting, temporary workers, employer interference with unions, bargaining with non-union workers, strikes in essential services, and labor rights in the maritime sector.

    Executive Decrees and Ministerial Resolutions

    • Panama implemented Executive Decrees to improve inspections and labor law enforcement concerning:

    - Subcontracting: Panama clarified the criteria for legitimate subcontracting and ensured that labor inspections take place so that contracting arrangements do not undermine worker rights.

    - Temporary Work Contracts: Panama established an enforcement plan to protect the rights of temporary workers.

    - Employer Interference in Unions: Panama established a plan to increase monitoring and enforcement of labor laws that protect against employer interference with union rights.

    - Direct Negotiations: Panama clarified that an employer may not enter into collective negotiations with non-unionized workers when a union exists and that a pre-existing agreement with non-unionized workers cannot be used to refuse to negotiate with unionized workers.

    - Sector Specific Labor Rights: Panama clarified strike restrictions for workers involved in the cargo transportation sector.

    • Panama’s Ministry of Labor issued a Ministerial Resolution to address concerns in the Maritime Sector by clarifying and reaffirming the application of the Labor Code for maritime workers, including provisions on union organizing, collective bargaining, and strikes. The resolution also increases inspections and labor law enforcement activities in the maritime sector.

    Legislative Reforms

    • More recently, Panama reformed its labor laws concerning:

    - Export Processing Zones: Panama protected the right to strike, eliminated restrictions on collective bargaining, and eliminated exemption that allowed companies to use temporary workers for three years.

    - Barú Special Economic Zone: Panama eliminated restrictions on collective bargaining for companies less than six years old, and eliminated an exemption that allowed companies to use temporary workers for three years.

    - Companies Less than Two-Years Old: Panama eliminated restrictions on collective bargaining.