PANAMA CITY – Panama will be able to export 90% of its products free of all duty and taxes and its banking institutions will have access to the Nicaraguan market, according to a free-trade agreement finalized between the two nations Oct. 12, after seven rounds of negotiations.
“Central America is an important region; it’s our third-largest trade partner and this agreement will contribute to the consolidation of our role as strategic partners in the region,” said Alejandro Ferrer, Panama’s Minister of Trade.
Nicaraguan counterpart, Orlando Solórzano, said the trade accord “will not only increase trade between both countries, but it will also plant hope for thousands who view trade as a window of opportunity.”
Solórzano said the trade accord with Panama is especially important because it includes elements of logistical cooperation as well, including maritime transport. In the service industry, the trade accord creates new investment opportunities in the areas of telecommunications, energy, tourism and private security.
In 2006, Panama’s exports to Nicaragua totaled $17.5 million, while Nicaragua’s exports to Panama registered $8 million. Panama, which signed an agreement in 2002 to negotiate free-trade pacts with Central American nations, has already entered into free trade with El Salvador and has finalized negotiations with Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala and now Nicaragua.