Panama, Chile reach free trade pact
PANAMA CITY, Feb. 4 (Xinhuanet) — Panama and Chile signed a free trade deal here on Saturday, ending their 15th round of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) talks.
Chile has accepted Panama’s proposals on financial service, professional service as well as market access for agricultural and industrial products, said Alejandro Ferrer, Panama’s Minister of Commerce and Industry.
He said Chile has also acknowledged the important role Panama’s Colon Free Zone has played in the regional and world trade.
It is the fourth FTA Panama has reached as the country has signed free trade deals earlier with El Salvador, China’s Taiwan and Singapore.
Ferrer emphasized that most of the Panamanian products will enjoy a zero tariff when entering Chile’s market. And tariff reduction for 8 percent of Panama’s exports to Chile will be completed within 10 years.
The two sides excluded some sensitive issues from the agreement such as market access for agricultural products.
Free trade negotiations between the two countries failed in 1998 due to big differences on financial services. The talks resumed in July 2004.
During this round of negotiation, Panama and Chile agreed to start talks on financial services within two years.