Trading Partner Portal: Panama
Panama is an emerging Central American economy that is shaping to be a beneficial trading partner for California.
With a population of 3.9 million and a GDP of $46.2 billion, Panama has seen consistent yearly growth in the realm of 8-11 percent since 2006. Roughly 80 percent of Panama’s GDP is created within its services sector. Operation of the Panama Canal, the banking industry, container ports, and medical and health are the largest factors of this service economy. U.S. Department of State
In 2016, the United States exported $6.14 billion to Panama, down from $7.8 billion in 2015, including petroleum & coal, computers and electronics, and chemicals. Panama is currently the U.S.’s 34th export partner. The United States imports $407 million from Panama including re-imports, fish, food, and primary metal. U.S. Department of State
As California’s 40th largest export partner, Panama imported $411 million worth of goods in 2016. Top categories included computer and electronic products (40.7%), petroleum and coal products (14.2%), transportation equipment (8.5%), and food (7.1%). California imports approximately $36.7 million from Panama including fish, food manufactures, and agriculture. U.S. Department of Commerce
U.S.-Panama Free Trade Agreement
The California Chamber of Commerce supported US-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement went into effect on October 31, 2012. The agreement significantly increases the ability of American companies to export their products to one of Latin America’s fastest-growing economies, while dramatically reducing the tariff rates across the range of US industrial and agricultural goods.
United States, Panama Set Date for Entry into Force of United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement
U.S. Trade Representative, October 22, 2012
In June 2007, the United States and Panama signed a Free Trade Agreement (also referred to as a Trade Promotion Agreement). The Panamanian government approved the FTA in 2007.
On October 12, 2011, the US House passed the FTA with a vote of 300 – 129 and the US Senate passed the measure with a vote of 77-22.
|U.S. – Panama FTA:2011
Noes: Baca, Bass, Capps, Chu, Filner, Garamendi, Honda, Lee, Lofgren, McNerney, Miller, Napolitano, Richardson, Roybal-Allard, Sanchez (Linda), Sanchez (Loretta), Sherman, Speier, Stark, Waters, Woolsey, Boxer
On Friday, October 21, 2011, the President signed into law: H.R. 3079, the “United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act”
Per the U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, the U.S.-Panama FTA offers tremendous opportunities for California’s exporters. Panama’s strategic location as a major shipping route and the massive project underway to expand the capacity of the Panama Canal enhance the importance of the U.S.-Panama FTA for California’s exporters.
The Agreement guarantees expanded access for U.S. manufactured and agricultural products, as well as to Panama’s $22 billion services market, including in priority areas such as telecommunications, computer, distribution, express delivery, energy, environmental, and professional services.
The U.S.‐Panama TPA is expected to increase U.S. exports to Panama by removing or reducing trade barriers in the Panamanian market and by leveling the tariff playing field. Ninety‐eight percent of Panama’s exports to the United States entered duty‐free in 2010, while fewer than 40 percent of U.S. goods entered Panama without tariffs.
According to the USTR, Panama will eliminate tariffs on more than 86 percent of U.S. industrial and consumer goods. Almost half of U.S. agricultural goods, which currently face average tariffs of 15 percent, will immediately become duty-free. All tariffs on industrial goods will be eliminated within 10 years, and most of the remaining tariffs on agricultural goods will be eliminated over the next 15 years. Panama is one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America, expanding 10.6 percent in 2011, with forecasts of between five to eight percent annual growth through 2017.
The California Chamber of Commerce, in keeping with long-standing policy, enthusiastically supports free trade worldwide, expansion of international trade and investment, fair and equitable market access for California products abroad and elimination of disincentives that impede the international competitiveness of California business. New multilateral, sectoral and regional trade agreements ensure that the United States may continue to gain access to world markets, resulting in an improved economy and additional employment of Americans.
The Trade Agreement is a critical element of the US National Export Initiative (NEI) and strategy to liberalize trade through multilateral, regional and bilateral initiatives. Further, the Agreement will increase momentum toward lowering trade barriers and set a positive example for other small economies in the Western Hemisphere.
CalChamber Meeting Highlights Need to Pass U.S. – Panama FTA
(March 26, 2009)The pending U.S.-Panama Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was among the many topics discussed on March 26 when a delegation from Panama, led by Minister of Commerce Cristina Torres, visited the California Chamber of Commerce.