Canada FTA talks moving to approval
PANAMA. President Ricardo Martinelli and the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper signed the documents marking the conclusion of ne...
PANAMA. President Ricardo Martinelli and the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper signed the documents marking the conclusion of negotiations of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries.
It is expected that the FTA will be signed, once the translations and the revision processes are finished at the end of the year.
After that both countries will submit the agreement for ratification to their respective legislative bodies.
The FTA will allow Panamanians producers to have access to a market of over 33 million consumers with high purchasing power.
Harper, who was visiting Panama for the first time, hopes to negotiate FTA's with other countries in Latin America and Asia as a way of fighting the economic recession.
The FTA has the potential of increasing the exports from Panama to Canada significantly. Currently the exports to that country reach only to $3.4 million.
The agreement also contemplates bilateral cooperation between the private sector and government organizations, universities, technological centers and research institutions.
Prime Minister Harper said that Panama offers great incentives to foreign investors and it a recognized leader in the region.
Currently Panama exports bananas, melons, watermelons, pineapples, coffee and fish oil. However, with the signing of the FTA fresh processed sea food products (which represents 38 percent of the Panamanian exports), wood floors, glass bottles and ceramic products will have complete access to the Canadian market.
The Panamanian government is planning to promote the country as a logistic center for big Canadian companies which produce prefabricated products.
There are also opportunities for national companies to offer banking services in Canada by opening a branch in that country. Possibilities to establish call center to serve Canadian enterprises also exists.
Currently Panama has free trade agreements with eight countries: Honduras, Costa Rica, Singapore, Taiwan, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Chile, plus two partial agreements with Mexico and Colombia.
President Martinelli said that he wants to reactivate trade negotiations with Mexico and to join with Central American countries in their negotiations with European Union.