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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Canada–Panama Free Trade Agreement is a planned free trade agreement between Canada and Panama. The agreement was signed on August 11, 2009 by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli.[1] The agreement will need to be approved by both countries' parliaments before the agreement comes into effect.[1] The agreement will eliminate Panamanian tariffs on 90% of goods from Canada. The remaining 10% will be phased out within the next 10 years. Canada will remove 99% of its tariffs on goods from Panama. Canada will keep tariffs on some imports of sugar, poultry, eggs and dairy products.[2] Panama will end its ban on beef from Canada which was initiated after cases of mad cow disease were found in Canada in 2003.[2]

In 2008, bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and Panama totaled $149.1 million. [3] Trade has increased by 48 percent from 2007.[2] Canada made up $127.9 million of total trade between the two countries, while Panama made up the remaining $21.2 million. [3]

Both countries parliament need to approve the agreement before it can come into force. The Canadian opposition parties may stall the agreement over the issue of Panama being considered a tax haven.[4]

The agreement was negotiated over four meetings. The first negotiation started in October 2008. The negotiations followed two exploratory meeting over a possible agreement. [3]

In 1998, Panama and Canada signed the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA). This agreement placed rights and obligations on foreign direct investments between the two countries. In 2006, FDI in Panama by Canadian companies was $111 million. [3]

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