Panama - Country Commercial Guide
Customs Regulations
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Panama assesses import duties on an ad valorem basis. The ad valorem system uses the declared CIF value as the basis for import duty calculations and, in some cases, utilizes historical price information as a reference. Panama adheres to the WTO Customs Valuation Agreement, which stipulates the methods for determining customs valuation.

In addition to the duty, all imports into Panama are subject to a 7% transfer or value-added tax (ITBM) levied on the CIF value plus import duty and other handling charges. Pharmaceuticals, foods, and school supplies are exempt from the ITBM tax.

Due to the TPA between the U.S. and Panama, 87% of U.S. products enter Panama duty-free. For other products, duties may be phased out over time. Since there are several exceptions, it is convenient to check what products are under the duty-free regime. We suggest that U.S. exporters go through the following process to determine duties today and in the future:

1.  Customs Info Database - shows tariffs/duties that Panama is currently assessing. You can access this database by simply signing up with your email address at

2.  Tariff Tool for Free Trade Agreements – shows how tariffs will be phased out for any good in any country that has a Free Trade Agreement (current or pending) with the U.S.  Cautionary note: this tool does not show agricultural products. Also, it is not entirely accurate for current tariff rates; instead, it shows what Panama can charge, which may be higher.

Under the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement, a certificate of origin may be required, although the importer’s knowledge of origin may be sufficient. No format for the certificate is specified but it must contain the following information: the names of the certifying person, importer, exporter, and producer; the tariff classification and description of the goods; information demonstrating the goods’ origin; and date of certification. Blanket certifications covering up to 12 months of shipments are permissible. Certificates may be in English or Spanish, but a translation may also be required.

In 1995, Panama adopted the Harmonized System (HS) or Tariff Nomenclature as its customs classification system. In general, the Panamanian customs system does not represent a significant obstacle for U.S. exporters. The Tariff Nomenclature has changed during the last decade due to Panama’s entry into the Central American Customs Union, adopting the “RECAUCA” modifications.

Dirección General de Aduanas

P.O. Box 0819-07729

Panama, Panama

Phone: +507-506-6407

Fax:      +507-506-6240