The U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) entered into force on Wednesday.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said it marked “a historic milestone and brings us closer to our goal of an unbroken network of free trade agreements in the Western Hemisphere.” By eliminating tariffs and other barriers, the TPA will significantly liberalize trade in goods and services between the two countries, enhancing competitiveness and supporting jobs, she said in a statement. Clinton termed it as “an example of the Obama Administration’s commitment to economic statecraft and deepening our economic engagement throughout the world.”
Almost all U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products to Panama will now be duty-free with remaining tariffs phased out over ten years. Nearly half of all current trade will receive immediate duty-free treatment with most of the remaining tariffs eliminated within 15 years. The agreement will also preserve duty-free access for Panamanian goods previously granted under trade preference programs and help strengthen the Panamanianeconomy.
“Not only will this reinforce the ties between our economies and create jobs, it secures our strategic partnership with a key partner,” according to Clinton. She thanked Panamanian President Ricardo Alberto Martinelli for his leadership on the entry into force of the TPA and said she looked forward to both countries fully realizing the promise of this agreement.