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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

Free trade agreement with US costs Panama $234 million
A free trade agreement with the United States will cost Panama $234 million in lost revenue from import duties in the first four years, according to projections by the Ministry of Economy and Finance and international firms.
Panama protests build over US FTA
Agricultural unions and associations in Panama repeated their intention Thursday to continue protests over the way the Isthmus government is negotiating a free trade treaty with the United States.
Panama: Wave of protests
Panamanian unions and civilian groups Friday warned they would continue pressuring the government in order to hamper signing of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US and support a similar pact with Chile.
Panama, US FTA talks postponed
The ninth round of free trade agreement (FTA) talks between Panamanian government officials and the US wound up without a final accord, amid domestic pressures forcing to act cautiously.
Panama anti-FTA front broadens
Panama’s government, ignoring the country’s heated atmosphere, strives Friday to show the validity of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US while a common front snubbing the eventual pact grows.
Panama heats up over FTA
The resignation Wednesday of a key minister at Panama-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA) talks added more fuel to the national atmosphere, which looks like it’s heading for a revival of the union movement.
Panama agriculture minister resigns over US talks
Panama’s agriculture minister resigned on Tuesday, alleging that a proposed free trade deal with the United States could expose the country to bird flu, foot and mouth disease and mad cow disease.
Panama questions FTA with US
Panamanian farmers on Monday called for a mass demonstration December 11 to analyze the state of the negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which their government plans to sign with the United States.
Bush says US and Panama close to free trade accord
President George W. Bush said on Monday the United States and Panama were close to completing a free trade agreement as he ended a Latin American tour that fell short of his goal of reviving talks on a hemispheric-wide trade zone.
Finance liberalisation: Cabinet baulks on alien law changes
Thai Commerce Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said yesterday that proposed amendments to the Alien Business Act would not be presented to the Cabinet today, apparently because of growing public resentment about further opening up the country to foreign investors.