The trade dispute between the Governments of Panama and Colombia, regarding the tariff measures imposed by Colombia on the imports of apparel from the Colon Free Zones (CFZs)—a free trade zone in the port of Colon, in Panama is expected to be resolved soon, according to the country’s director of the Office of International Trade Negotiations, Diana Salazar.
Ms. Salazar said the Ministers of Trade of both the countries recently had a chance meeting at an event and discussed regarding the lifting of tariffs imposed on the imports of apparel from the CFZs in Panama, reports Panama News Agency, ANPanama.
Colombia had issued a Decree 074, on January 2013, which came into effect in March, according to which an additional US$ 5 per kilo duty on apparel imported from other countries, including Panama, would be imposed, irrespective of the price of the imported product.
The Government of Panama had taken the issue to the World Trade Organization (WTO), citing that the imposed tariffs were exceeding the standards set by the WTO.
The duty affects the apparel exporters from Panama’s CFZs, and these exporters had voiced their opposition even during the talks for Colombia-Panama Free Trade Agreement, the negotiations of which ended in June, 2013.
In August 2013, the Presidents of both the countries met and discussed reviewing the issue of extraordinary tariff collection that applies on Panama’s exports of apparel from the CFZs. At the meeting, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos had announced a review on the special duty of US$ 5 on apparel imported from Panama.