Panama suspends Colombian imports
As a consequence of the ban, Colombian flowers have disappeared from the local market, creating a bonanza for national farmers, who now ...
As a consequence of the ban, Colombian flowers have disappeared from the local market, creating a bonanza for national farmers, who now have the opportunity to sell their harvest at good prices.
The Panamanian Food Security Authority (Autoridad Panameña de Seguridad de Alimentos) AUPSA and Colombian officials have held a series of meetings to solve the problem and put measures in place that will allow the reopening of the borders to those products.
Panama has long suffered trade conflicts with Colombia. According to the AUPSA director, Gilberto Real, there was a dispute regarding the export of Panamanian poultry products such as fertilized eggs to our neighboring country, mainly because the responsibility of authorizing the import was transferred from one Colombian agency to another. That happened 12 months ago.
Real added that Colombia has a history of plagues. A year ago AUPSA detected that shipments of fruits, vegetables and flowers that came from Colombia were infected with plagues that could potentially damage the local species and the decision was taken to stop all the imports of those products.
The governments of Colombia and Panama, looking at the restrictions, decided to start negotiations and resolve the issues with the purpose of opening trade borders again.
The director said that so far the Colombian authorities have allowed the export of fertile eggs from Panama to Colombia, especially genetic material that will allow the development of the poultry industry in that country.
The Ministry of Agriculture Development has written sanitary protocols that must be followed to allow the introduction of Colombian flowers and foliage to Panama again.
Meanwhile the AUPSA has decided to allow the import of Colombian mushrooms to Panama, because the danger level they present is very low.
The AUPSA also needs to sign sanitary protocols to allow the introduction of fruits and vegetable to Panama for the trade to be re-established. The Colombian government has approved a legislation to comply with requirements from Panamanians authorities.
Over the last few years the Colombian and Panamanian governments have had disagreements regarding trade practices.
Colombia has accused Panama of having a negative effect on its internal commerce, blaming the Colon Free Zone for selling cheap products and encouraging the black market.
According to Real the negotiations are progressing well and trade should restart soon.