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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

Panama rejects FTT with US
The Popular Alternative Party (PAP) reported the Free Trade Treaty’s (FTT) negative effects on the economy and Panamanian society and in this way rejected its signing.
Skirmishes over an unpublished US-RP Free Trade Agreement
Just before Christmas trade negotiators for the United States and Panama announced that a deal had been reached on a US-Panama Free Trade Agreement. However, at the time this issue of The Panama News was uploaded the text of the agreement was still being withheld from the public in both countries and the Panamanian government was disputing one of the key claims about the deal that was made on the US Trade Representative’s website.
CRS Report for Congress: The US-Panama free trade agreement
For the United States, Panama has long held a strategic military and commercial importance, even as a small trading partner, and an FTA with Panama fits with broader US trade policy.
Panama: US business supports FTA
The US-Panama free trade agreement, signed just before Christmas, is set to be debated by U.S. lawmakers before July. But US business organizations widely support the agreement.
Panama added to roster of US free-trade deals in Latin America
US Trade Representative (USTR) Susan Schwab, who announced the deal on December 19, said that the agreement is subject to "additional discussions" on labor.
Dairy groups pleased with US-Panama FTA negotiations
The National Milk Producers Federation and the US Dairy Export Council expressed support for the recently negotiated Free Trade Agreement between the United States and Panama. The FTA will help the US build on its export presence in Panama, once the agreement is approved by Congress.
US, Panama reach free-trade agreement: US official
The United States and Panama have reached a free-trade agreement in talks delayed repeatedly by agricultural issues and Panama’s concern over losing control of a major Panama Canal expansion project, US trade officials said on Tuesday.
Panama, US to restart free trade agreement talks Friday
Panama’s government will restart free trade talks with the US on Friday, seeking an important tool to combat poverty, Panama President Martin Torrijos said Tuesday.
US and Panama making progress on trade deal: USTR
The United States and Panama are making "good" progress toward a bilateral trade deal, Washington’s chief agricultural negotiator said on Thursday.
Panama upbeat on US free trade deal by year end
Panama could reach a free trade deal with the United States by the end of this year, despite lingering differences over US food safety, a senior negotiator said on Tuesday.