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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

In the United States, 350 civil groups oppose FTA
Around 350 US national, state and local groups from religious to environmental sectors, representing a combined total membership of 18 million, sent a letter to the House of Representatives asking lawmakers not to ratify the free trade agreement between Panama and the United States, insisting that Panama’s economy thrives on banking secrecy and money laundering
US lawmakers rally against Panama FTA
54 democrat congressmen sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to forego the Free Trade Agreement with Panama, because it has refused to sign any tax information exchange treaties.
Obama to push Panama accord, work on Colombia, Korea
President Barack Obama plans to ask Congress to approve a long-delayed free-trade agreement with Panama and work to resolve remaining issues with the South Korea and Colombia accords so they can be ratified.
Condoleezza Rice visit to Panama sparks protest in capital
A visit by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sparked protest yesterday in the streets by opponents of free trade with the North American giant, a subject Rice is set to discuss here in a conference today.
Bush leaves Peru without date for trade deal
US President George W Bush left Peru on Sunday without nailing down a clear date for when a US free trade agreement with the Andean country would finally go into effect.
Panama’s president continues push for free trade pact passage
A day ahead of a scheduled meeting with US President George W Bush, Panamanian President Martin Torrijos continued pushing Tuesday for approval of a free trade deal between the countries. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. also vowed to continue fighting for passage of the agreement and pledged to continue that fight for years, if necessary.
Bush won’t press Panama trade vote before Colombia
President George W. Bush does not want Congress to vote on a free trade agreement with Panama before it votes on a similar deal with Colombia, Bush administration officials said on Tuesday after a major obstacle to approval of the Panama agreement was removed.
Panama projects plow ahead as FTA idles in Congress
“With the United States, our goal is to have a string of free-trading countries from Alaska down to the tip of Argentina and Chile, and Panama is obviously an important link in that chain,” US ambassador to Panama said.
Bush vows to help Panama clinch free trade agreement
President George W. Bush said Tuesday he would do his best to get Congress to approve a pending free trade agreement with Panama, after meeting with its President Martin Torrijos in the White House.
US-Panama trade promotion agreement: Potential economy-wide and selected sectoral effects
A report from the US International Trade Commission (September 2007)