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Panama: The National Assembly approves the FTA with Mexico

The FTA was signed in April by the governments of both countries and their approval is necessary so that Panama can enter the Pacific Alliance 

Yesterday, an official source stated that Panama's National Assembly had approved the free trade agreement with Mexico on its third and final debate. 

A brief statement of the Assembly said the legislative body had approved the FTA on its third debate on Tuesday and that this commercial mechanism would allow Panama to expand its goods and services market. Following the parliamentary approval, the Panamanian Executive branch must also sign the law and publish it in the Official Gazette for the FTA to come into force. 

According to the contents of the document approved by the National Assembly, the trade agreement will grant access to Panamanian products, such as flowers, watermelons, melons, beef offal, processed chicken, seafood and cocoa, in Mexico. 

"The ratified document facilitates the customs controls and financial services solutions terms as well as a chapter on trade disputes," the source added. The Panamanian and Mexican governments signed the FTA last April, and its approval is required for Panama to enter the Pacific Alliance, founded in 2012 by Peru, Colombia, Chile and Mexico. 

For a country to join the Alliance it needs to have an FTA with its members, and Panama already has such agreements with all the members, but it is only missing parliamentary approval of the FTA with Colombia. The Minister of Trade and Industry said on October 1 that the FTA with Mexico "protects sensitive agricultural and agro-industrial goods for Panama, such as chicken meat, eggs, dairy products, pork, pork sausages, coffee, wheat flour, rice, palm oil, tomato sauces and pastas, potatoes, onions, sugar, some juices, fruit drinks, soft drinks, and industrial goods such as plastic products, paper and aluminium." 

The FTA with Mexico "opens new opportunities for access, in periods of tariff reduction of 5 to 15 years, for Panamanian goods that don't have a presence in the Mexican market, such as pineapples, papayas, peppers, fish flour, dry fish, electrolyte drinks, beer, toilet paper and paper towels. "


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