Panama’s Free Trade Agreement with Canada
Last week a ceremony that went largely unnoticed by the wider business community took place when host nation Canada and the visiting Panamanian delegation signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to open up business channels between the two nations (10). The FTA is not yet active law, as it requires approval by the parliaments of both countries before it is enacted. But assuming this happens, tax and levies on trade between Canada and Panama will be reduced by 90% in most cases, including that of mining and mine equipment. After the signing ceremony at a meeting put on by the Canadian business community, Panama’s Minister of Commerce said (translated quote) that the arrival “…of Canadian investment in Panama will grow in an explosive manner” because “….(Panama) has also decided to develop a serious mining policy and Canada is the world’s miner.” He went on to say, “I believe that Canada will also benefit from the enormous amount of public sector investment we have, and with this FTA will have investment advantages. We are talking about $13.6Bn without taking into account the canal expansion program.”
The ministers present said that they expected their respective parliaments to ratify the FTA before the end of the year. Members of the Canadian delegation also noted that in difference to the FTA negotiated between Canada and Colombia that hasn’t managed to be ratified in Canada’s parliament due to human rights issues in Colombia, Panama has a relatively clean record and this will not be an issue to hold up passage. So yet again, the world business community surprises us by noting that unlawfully killing people can in fact cause problems to national governments..there’s hope left in capitalism after all :-).