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Separate from the US-Dominican Republic-Central America free trade agreement (DR-CAFTA), the US is negotiating a bilateral deal with Panama. The process started in April 2004 and a text was finally agreed to in December 2006. The process has drawn active and strong opposition from many sectors in Panama, from school teachers to cattle ranchers. Meat trade between the two countries was a key sticking point, with Panama long resisting Washington’s demands to accept US sanitary standards as its own. The text of the final agreement on food safety (SPS) shows that the Panamanian government completely gave in.

In October 2011, the US Congress ratified the FTA and on 10 November both governments began the formal process to secure its entry into force by October 2012.

last update: Mayl 2012

WikiLeaks on Panama: Laying bare the paranoid, pro-corporate agenda
Faced with widespread social opposition, governments adopt an anti-democratic stance as they push through the free trade agenda, becoming so paranoid in the process that they seek to enact illegal wiretaps.
FTA between Panama and the United States: Re-negotiations imminent?
US congressmen are pressuring Panama to reduce the number of people who can form a union from 40 to 20 and to give foreigners the right to head union organizations in Panama.
Panama wrong choice for Obama’s first trade deal
This trade deal — largely based on the North American Free Trade Agreement model — was written by and for multinational companies. It enables companies to increase their profits while skipping town on taxes.
Free trade agreements pushed by Grassley, pork produce
The National Pork Producers Council is pushing for passage of the Panama Free Trade Agreement, saying it will level the playing field for U.S. pork producers.
"I will absolutely fight to the death" against the Panama FTA
Pop quiz: who said that? Was it a Panamanian worker with nothing to lose? Nope. It was the chair of one of the most powerful committees in the US Congress.
Please sign letter opposing ratification of US-Panama FTA
As the global economic crisis deepens and more people lose their jobs, the Obama administration may soon push for ratification of the Bush-era US-Panama Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
Panama’s president-elect to push US trade deal
Finalizing a free-trade deal with the United States is a major goal for Panamanian President-elect Ricardo Martinelli, but the supermarket tycoon rejects US accusations that the country is a tax haven.
New report: Panama FTA would undermine US efforts to stop offshore tax-haven abuse and regulate risky financial conduct
The trade deal would leave tax shelters for AIG and narcotraffickers intact while removing existing US tools to combat tax evasion and other financial crimes
Panama-AIG outrage on all fronts
Anger is brimming over in diverse corridors over the Bush hangover agreement with Panama, and the new rights it would give to AIG-linked bodies in Panama to sue US taxpayers.
AIG suing taxpayers for its own Panama tax dodging
Under the Panama FTA, AIG-Panama would be able to sue the US taxpayer for cash damages by claiming common regulatory actions were "tantamount" to an ("indirect") "expropriation."