Trade agreement between Mexico and Panama will help regional integration


The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Panama and Mexico, which enters into force tomorrow, will contribute to increased trade and investment between the two countries and the progress of regional integration, experts said today in an information forum on the Convention .

Representatives of the Government and the Ministry of Economy of Mexico and the Ministry of Trade of the Panamanian government, analyzed the advantages and benefits of the trade agreement at a forum organized by the Chamber of Commerce, Agriculture, Industries and Agriculture of Panama (CCIAP ).

The participants reviewed various aspects of the agreement and agreed that this agreement opens a “window of opportunity” for merchants, manufacturers and exporters of Panama and Mexico.

Intellectual property, rules of origin, dispute settlement, market access, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, e-commerce, financial services, temporary entry and stay of business people, investment, border trade, were among the topics discussed.

NAFTA, signed by the governments of Panama and Mexico on April 3, 2014, has 21 chapters and includes some 4,000 tariffs, was ratified on 12 March by the Mexican Congress and the October 8, 2014 by the unicameral National Assembly from Panama.

Total trade between Mexico and Panama in 2014 was 1,009 million dollars, with a surplus trade balance for Mexico in 968.8 million dollars, according to data from the Ministry of Economy of that country.

Imports of Panamanian products to Mexico were valued at $ 20.3 million.
President of the CCIAP, Carlos Fernández, said that this agreement “will lay the groundwork for increased trade ties between the two countries and consolidate them as privileged platforms allow production and distribution of goods and services on the continent”.

Mexico’s ambassador in Panama, José Ignacio Piña, said the agreement comes into force tomorrow and that “no turning back” in this, nor “return”.

The diplomat stressed that the FTA offers commercial and investment benefits the two countries, clear rules and legal protection for investments, but above all, stressed, means “a step in the regional integration.”

This is remarked Pineapple, “by the prospects opened to the eventual incorporation of Panama to the Pacific Alliance”, composed of Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Peru.

The Pacific Alliance was founded in 2012 and Panama has already signed an FTA with them, which is an indispensable requirement to belong to the organization.

The trade pact signed by Panama with Colombia in September 2013 has not yet been submitted to the Panamanian Parliament for ratification.

Pineapple indicated that the entry into force of the agreement is an important step for both countries “will immediately allow the 50% of the tariff remains fully liberalized, means to be a zero tariff, 50% of the tariff universe” .

Then gradually, over the next 5, 10, 15 years, the rest of the tariff will be exempted from tariffs.

In the most sensitive sector of the Panamanian economy is agriculture, the relief will be slower (between 5-15 years), “just” to protect these agricultural products, some of which, according to the diplomat, remain outside the treaty.

Samuel Moreno, director of Legal Affairs Negotiating Panamanian Ministry of Trade and Industry (MITI), explained that in the case of Panama products were excluded by long periods of relief.

Tariff relief

These products are chicken, pork, dairy, coffee and instant coffee, rice, some edible oils, wheat flour, pasta and tomato sauce, fresh potatoes, sugar and some products high in sugar, fruit drinks and soft drinks, among others.

Moreno stressed that the main result of the treaty is access goods with export potential, in periods of 0-5 years as flowers, watermelons, melons, cocoa, palm oil, sugar cane rum and spirits, meat offal beef, processed chicken, chicken sausages and seafood.

Opening new opportunities for access to medium and long term for goods not currently offer Panamanian exports to Mexico, such as pineapples, papayas, peppers, fresh peppers, fish meal and dried fish, electrolyte drinks, beers are also given and industrial products such as paper towels and toilet paper.

The president of International Trade in Goods of the Ministry of Economy of Mexico, Cesar Guerra, who was negotiator for his country in the chapter on market access, explained that in Panama Mexico agreement gives immediate relief and short-term (five years ) 72% of its tariff at the entry into force of the Treaty universe.

Mexico, meanwhile, Panama gives immediate relief and short-term (5 years) 81% of its tariff to the entry into force of the universe.

Guerra told Efe that Panama, not having an FTA with your country, faced competition from other countries in Mexico that if he had, but from tomorrow the Central American country “will be competing in the same circumstances those countries that do not face tariffs. ”



Ernesto Chong de León, Ernesto Emilio Chong Coronado