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Panama: free trade with U.S.

Monday, October 8, 2012

A free trade agreement between Panama and the United States is about to into force, possibly as early as this month.

Panama’s National Assembly in September approved the pact, nearly a year after the United States Congress had done likewise.

The agreement eliminate Panamanian tariffs on close to 90 percent of U.S. consumer and industrial goods, including autos, chemicals, electrical equipment, information technology and medical technology.

It also will immediately eliminate tariffs on about half of U.S. agriculture exports, and lets U.S. companies provide financial, telecommunications, energy and professional services in Panama.

Remaining tariffs on agricultural, industrial and consumer products will be phased out, over periods ranging from five to 20 years.

Consumers will benefit from lower prices on goods imported from the U.S., while exports of Panamanian fish and agricultural products will have preferential access to the U.S. market.