Us Panama Trade Agreement

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Negotiations were officially concluded on 19 December 2006, although elements had yet to be renegotiated. The agreement was signed on 28 June 2007 and was ratified by the National Assembly of Panama on 11 July, before the 1,200-part document was translated into Spanish. [1] Under the free trade agreement, a topic of major importance to the United States, the competitiveness of retail, express delivery and financial services, including insurance and portfolio management, was achieved. In particular, restrictions on investment in retail and access to contracts leased by the Panama Canal Authority have either been removed or reduced. Improved access to other professional services and transparency of accreditation and other accreditations have been clarified. As restrictions are reduced in these areas, U.S. companies are better able to compete in the largest sector of the Panamanian economy, which is most likely to be destabilized by channels and expand merchandise trade through the channel. Panama wanted more transparency in the U.S. financial services regulatory system to facilitate the eventual opening of Panamanian banks in some U.S. states. However, the U.S. government has argued that it is not in a position to make regulatory commitments at the national level in the financial services sector. The debate on labour and environmental standards reflects differences from both the economic and political perspective.

From an economic point of view, it has been suggested that firms in developing countries could benefit from an « unfair » competitive advantage, as their lower standards are the basis of their lower costs, resulting in lower prices for products that may compete with those of industrialized countries59. In addition, critics have argued that trade agreements should not support production standards that lead to unacceptable working conditions or serious environmental degradation. Second, Schedule 10 F of the Free Trade Agreement seeks to retain certain rights with respect to disputes that are submitted pursuant to Section B of the Investment Chapter and may concern the Panama Canal Authority (PCA).