Free Trade Agreement with Panama Approved by Congress

Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 13:14

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kimberly Crocker 301-3881 ext. 105

October 12, 2011

Free Trade Agreement with Panama Approved by Congress

Panama City, Panama - The American Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Panama is pleased to announce that the U.S.-Panama Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was passed by Congress on Wednesday afternoon. The U.S.-Panama FTA represents a strong catalyst for growth of the Panamanian economy and an implied endorsement by the U.S. Government as a valuable player in global commerce, particularly in this hemisphere. The Republic of Panama’s government has been pursuing trade agreements around the globe, and the ratification of the FTA with the United States places Panama in a strong competitive position.

AmCham Panama, in partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Latin American Trade Coalition, has played a significant role in urging Congress to move quickly on the Panama trade agreement. The passing of the U.S.-Panama FTA represents a successful outcome of these lobbying efforts four years after the agreement was originally signed.

AmCham Panama expects the bills to be signed by President Obama within the next two weeks. Once signed into law, it may take up to twelve to eighteen months for the U.S.- Panama FTA to actually be implemented and put into force. Hence, Congressional approval is just a first step in a long journey to an increase in trade, jobs, and improved prosperity for both countries.

The U.S.-Panama FTA will create a level playing field between the two countries by permanently lowering barriers to bi-lateral commerce. AmCham Panama believes that implementation of the U.S.-Panama agreement will enhance export and investment opportunities for U.S. companies and will enable both American and Panamanian workers to compete in the quickly growing global economy. Panama’s location and highly relevant canal place the country in a pivotal role as the gateway to the Americas and a logistical hub for global commerce. Once implemented, the agreement will spur increased growth of the local economy and that Panamanians in turn will see gains in employment that will improve quality of life.

“We look forward to the implementation of the FTA between Panama and the United States, as it represents more bi-lateral trading opportunities to increase commerce, increased foreign direct investment in the local economy, and an enhanced business climate where rule of law and transparency will ensure continued good business relations,” according to Juan Carlos Arias, President of AmCham Panama.


About The American Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Panama (AmCham Panama) Founded in 1979, AMCHAM Panama is a non-profit, non-political, independent, voluntary association supported primarily by its members. Much of the organization's work is accomplished through the efforts of volunteer member committees which collaborate to help AMCHAM promote free enterprise in Panama. AmCham Panama has over 450 active members that include both U.S.-based multinational companies and local Panamanian businesses.

Today, AMCHAM organizations are established in over 90 countries throughout Latin America, Asia and Europe. Panama's Chamber is affiliated with the Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America (AACCLA) and is a fully accredited member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce of America. The current President of AMCHAM Panama is Juan Carlos Arias, and the Executive Director is C.E. Maurice Bélanger. For more information, please go to Amcham Panama’s website: