Panama Pushes for Regional Free Trade

March 10, 2006

PANAMA CITY – Panama’s Foreign Minister, Javier Bonagas, said his government will take advantage of this weekend’s summit of regional leaders to attempt to restart the stalled free-trade talks with Central America.

“The Panamanian government has decided to announce a new effort to push for free-trade negotiations,” Bonagas said.

Regional free-trade talks between Panama and Central America were stalled in 2002. Since then Panama has signed a bilateral free-trade agreement with El Salvador, and has started talks with Nicaragua.

Bonagas said one of the reasons the talks were stalled several years ago was because Panama started similar free-trade talks with Chile, Singapore and the United States, and couldn’t carry on all negotiations at once.

Now, he says, the time has come to restart talks with Central America. The summit of leaders of Central America, Panama, Belize and the Dominican Republic will be held in the Panamanian capital March 8-12, and focus on issues of regional integration.

 

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