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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

US-Panama trade pact looks shaky
Washington officials say that even if Gonzalez — the president of Panama’s National Assembly, who is wanted on murder charges in the US — were to quit, attitudes in Congress and in the Bush administration have hardened against the free trade deal.
US wants Panama Congress chair out
The US is stepping up pressure to remove the president of Panama’s National Assembly, who it claims killed a US marine, so that the case will not block passage of the US-Panama FTA.
Fugitive’s election muddles trade deal prospects
Advocates of a US-Panama free trade deal have a new headache: Panama has just elected an official wanted for arrest in the U.S. for allegedly killing an American soldier.
Why is our trade policy benefitting tax cheats?
The pending US trade agreement with Panama isn’t really about trade. It’s about foreign investor rights, money laundering, and tax dodging.
Panama ratifies free trade deal with US
Panama’s legislature ratified a free trade agreement with the United States on Wednesday amid protests by hundreds of leftists and farmers opposed to the deal.
Panamanians protest US trade deal
Groups of students, professionals, and unions in Panama are protesting the signing Thursday of a free trade agreement with the US, for considering it an affront to the country s sovereignty and dignity.
US, Panama sign free trade pact just in time
The United States and Panama signed a free trade agreement on Thursday with only a few days to spare before key US legislation expires.
Caterpillar pushes for passage of US-Panamanian Trade Promotion Agreement
Caterpillar Inc vice president Tom Gales cited a major construction project the country is embarking on—the expansion of the Panama Canal—as one reason why the trade agreement is essential. The expansion is the world’s largest public works project since the Three Gorges Dam was constructed in China.
Caterpillar Pushes for Passage of U.S.-Panamanian Trade Promotion Agreement
In testimony given Wednesday, May 16, before the United States International Trade Commission in Washington D.C., the Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) vice president with responsibility for Latin America emphasized why a Panama Trade Promotion Agreement will be remarkably beneficial for the U.S., Panama and the region.
Bush notifies Congress of plans to sign Panama free trade deal
President George W. Bush notified Congress on Friday that he plans to sign a free trade agreement with Panama.