Panama Free Trade Agreement

The USTR reports that Panama`s laws on spiritual auspices and institutional support have been improved by the creation of tribunals specifically related to IPR cases. Panama updated its patent law in 1996 and has a trademark protection law. Panama has signed the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty and the Performance and Phonograph Treaty. The 1994 copyright improved protection and strengthened the ability to prosecute perpetrators. The United States continues to encourage Panama to join additional agreements on the free trade agreement, as the free trade agreement is now calling for, and to remain vigilant about what is one of the main concerns, given the large amount of goods transiting through the free trade area.55 The agreement is a win-win agreement for both countries. This trade agreement will establish U.S. trade relations with Panama on a fairer and mutually beneficial basis, removing Panama`s tariffs – most directly. In the interests of American workers and peasants, Congress should quickly approve the agreement. The United States has a small but positive agricultural trade record with Panama.

Agriculture accounts for a small portion of all U.S. merchandise exports to Panama, but the United States captures about 51% of panama`s agricultural import market. While the average tariff on U.S. agricultural products is 15%, tariffs on chicken-leg quarters can reach 260%.39 Given that both countries had products they wanted to protect, access to the agricultural market was one of the most difficult problems to solve. President Obama also introduced separate enforcement laws for free trade agreements with Colombia and South Korea, as well as laws again authorizing trade adjustment assistance. The four bills were considered part of a business matter for Congress and the government. Congress requires the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) to conduct an economic assessment of the potential impact of a free trade agreement on the U.S. economy. The analysis is generally carried out with both a general equilibrium model to estimate macroeconomic variations and a partial equilibrium model to estimate variations at the sectoral or industrial level. In the case of Panama, there was insufficient data to provide a relevant estimate from a general equilibrium model, and therefore detailed estimates of the impact that the free trade agreement could have on U.S. economic growth, employment, trade and incomes were not proposed. In general, however, the USITC concluded, through other quantitative and qualitative indicators, that the likely overall impact on the U.S.

economy would be very small through other quantitative and qualitative indicators.33 On May 14, 2010, Canadian Trade Minister Peter Van Loan, in collaboration with Panamanian Trade and Industry Minister Roberto Henréquez, has signed the Canada-Panama Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and parallel labour and environmental cooperation agreements.

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