Panama - Country Commercial Guide
Trade Agreements

Describes trade agreements this country is a party to. Includes resources where U.S. companies can get information on how to take advantage of these agreements.

Last published date: 2021-10-13

The U.S. and Panama signed a trade promotion agreement on June 28, 2007 implemented on October 31, 2012. The TPA reduced tariffs to zero for about 87 percent of U.S. exports (including nearly all industrial and consumer goods), with remaining non-agricultural tariffs phasing out over ten years.  Some agricultural tariff lines will be phased out by January 1, 2031.  The TPA also includes provisions relating to customs administration and trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade, government procurement, investment services, financial services, telecommunications services, electronic commerce, intellectual property rights, and labor and environmental protections.  Under the TPA, U.S. firms have better access to Panama’s services sector than Panama provides to other WTO Members under the General Agreement on Trade in Services.  All services sectors are covered under the TPA except where Panama has made specific exceptions.  Panama is also a full participant in the WTO Information Technology Agreement.  Panama entered into a bilateral agreement with the United States in 2006 that resolved some of the regulatory barriers to trade in agricultural goods ranging from meat and poultry to processed products, including dairy and rice.

Panama has full FTAs that cover goods and services in force with the following countries or economies: El Salvador (2003), Singapore (2006), Chile (2008), Costa Rica (2008), Honduras (2009), Guatemala (2009), Nicaragua (2009), Peru (2012), the United States (2012), Canada (2013), the EFTA countries (2014), Mexico (2015), South Korea (2018), and Israel (2019).  Panama has partial trade agreements with the Dominican Republic (1987), and Cuba (2009). In 2013, Panama and Colombia signed a free trade agreement, the culmination of three years of negotiations between both countries. After the agreement was signed, there was a tariff dispute between the countries regarding tariffs on clothing and footwear imports to Colombia that were re-exported from the Colon Free Zone. The dispute was brought to the WTO, which ruled in Panama’s favor in March 2018.  Presiden Varella began FTA negotiations with China on June 12, 2018 but the Cortizo administration put them on hold. Due to Panama’s recognition of the People’s Republic of China on June 12, 2017, Panama broke diplomatic relations with Taiwan and withdrew the Panama-Taiwan FTA that was implemented from 2004-2017. For more information on Panama´s Free Trade Agreements, visit https://www.mici.gob.pa/tratados-comerciales-vigentes

Panama has bilateral investment agreements with the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Germany, Taiwan, Canada, Argentina, Spain, Chile, Uruguay, the Czech Republic, Netherlands, Cuba, Mexico, Dominican Republic, South Korea, Ukraine, Sweden, Qatar, Finland, and Italy.  The U.S.-Panama Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) entered into force in 1991 with additional amendments in 2001 to reflect Panama’s joining the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).  The investor protection provisions in the TPA have supplanted those in the BIT.  However, investments made under the BIT maintain the option to invoke dispute settlement under either treaty until October 31, 2022.