Tuesday, March 20, 2012

U.S. – Panama Trade Promotion Agreement

The United States and Panama signed the Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) in 2007.  On  October 12, 2011, the U.S.-Panama TPA was passed by the House of Representatives and Senate. President Obama signed the pact, but further regulatory formalities are needed before the agreement enters into force.

The Panamanian economy is one of the fastest growing economies in Central America with the largest per capita income of the region.  Use of the U.S. dollar and consumer preference for high quality products at competitive prices are two of the reasons for the high acceptance of U.S. products in Panama. 
Pennsylvania agricultural producers of dairy products; poultry, eggs and yellow corn, will receive duty-free access to tariff-rate quotas (TRQ), which will be phased out over 15 years.  Panama will be eliminating its 30% duty on prime and choice cuts of U.S. beef while tariffs on other cuts will be phased out over a 15 year time period. Panama will also eliminate its 15% tariff on fresh mushrooms. 

The $5.25 billion Panama Canal expansion project, to be completed in 2014, and the resulting increased port activity is generating demand for construction and handling equipment, especially excavators, off-road trucks, earth-moving equipment, cranes, forklifts, top loaders, power packs, and flatbed trucks.  There are also programs for replacing older, obsolete buses and taxis in Panama’s capital city, Panama City, which will create opportunities for manufacturers of vehicles and vehicle parts.  The TPA provisions are designed for transparency, anti-corruption, and cross-border services which should protect Pennsylvania small and medium-sized businesses in public tenders.

The TPA Agreement also improves access to Panama’s services market, including finances, telecommunications, computers, distribution, express delivery, energy, environmental , and professional services.  Besides the banking sector, the Panamanian government and the Panama Canal are important to buyers of computer equipment and new technologies. 

Watch the video from U.S. Representative Glenn Thompson on the benefits of 3 new agreements for Pennsylvania here.

To read a PDF on commercial business with Panama with contact details for specific sector opportunities here.

A PDF with detailed information on the agricultural products trade for Pennsylvania can be found here.

For more detailed industry opportunity reports can be found on the U.S.-Panama trade agreement website.