The Canada-Panama Free Trade Agreement (FTA) took effect on April 1, 2013. The FTA covers most goods imported and exported between the two countries will be duty free along with environment and labor cooperation agreements signed on May 14, 2010.
The FTA is expected to generate jobs and prosperity for both countries.
According to a story printed in the International Business Times on March 18, 2013:
“I am very pleased to mark this important step in Canada’s deepening partnership with Panama, a country that boasts one of the fastest-growing markets in our hemisphere and that serves as a strategic gateway to Latin America,” said Diane Ablonczy, Canadian Minister of State of Foreign Affairs.
“This free trade agreement, a key part of our government’s plan to strengthen our relationships in the Americas, will cement the ties between our nations and help us build greater prosperity for the peoples of our hemisphere,” said the minister in a press release.
The announcement was made while the Inter-American development bank meeting was underway in Panama City.
Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast called the free trade a ‘significant milestone’ in the history of Canadian trade relationship with foreign countries.
According to a story in BDP International on March 20, 2013:
“The entry into force of the agreement is a significant milestone, one that will have immediate benefits for Canadian exporters,” said Minister Fast. “The agreement will immediately eliminate tariffs on more than 90 percent of Canadian goods exported to Panama, benefiting a wide range of sectors, including aerospace, pharmaceuticals, pulp and paper, and agriculture and agro-food.”
According to the press release, Panama is Canada’s third-largest merchandise-export market in Central America, with bilateral merchandise trade reaching $213.6 million last year.
Within the last six years, the Canadian federal government has signed free trade deals with nine countries: Colombia, Honduras, Jordan, Panama, Peru and the European Free Trade Association member states of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
This FTA now opens new opportunities to export Panama goods to Canada such as fruits, liquor, beer, and seafood. In return, Canadian goods can be exported to Panama including beers, ciders, liquor, beef, salmon, and Canada is the world’s largest producer of maple syrup.
Importing and exporting can be a tricky business so it is best to consult with a Panama law firm familiar with the ends and outs of these types of businesses.