As requested under the ACCORD, the USTR conducted an environmental assessment of the potential environmental impacts, possibly attributable to the free trade agreement. He noted that Panama “faces a number of challenges in protecting its environment as it supports its economic growth and population growth.” Deforestation, soil degradation, the loss of wildlife and threats to water quality and wetlands are, among other things, serious problems for Panama. The Panama Canal also imposes strict water consumption requirements in the country. Panama responded through the public order process by establishing environmental standards and concluding bilateral and U.S. environmental cooperation agreements.69 These issues were already factors of interference prior to the Panama Free Trade Agreement negotiations. Thus, the environmental assessment states that the marginal impact of the free trade agreement on environmental standards would be small, either with respect to the projected effects on the United States or Panama. Panama is closely linked to the United States as a dominant trading partner and is one of the few Latin American countries with which the United States has a trade surplus. Although small compared to all U.S. trade, it is by far the largest in the region. Panama also has a large trade deficit with Latin America. Latin America`s main trading partners are Costa Rica, Mexico and Colombia. Panama also imports significant amounts of oil from Trinidad and Tobago.
Trade with Asia follows the rapid pattern of raw material exports to many Latin American countries, with relatively modest growth in Panamanian imports from the region. On November 18, 2003, the USTR informed the U.S. Congress that the government intended to begin negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Republic of Panama. Negotiations began on April 26, 2004 in Panama City. In February 2006, at the request of the Government of Panama, the United States approved a technical review of the U.S. food safety inspection system. On March 30, 2007, the President of the United States sent Congress a Memorandum of Understanding to conclude a free trade agreement with Panama. The free trade agreement was signed on June 28, 2007. To address the “grey list” issue, Panama has 14 double taxation agreements with the United States, in addition to TIEA. Twelve of these agreements were ratified prior to Congress` action on the free trade agreement and Panama was officially removed from the OECD `grey list` on 6 July 2011.Unlike the TIEA, the Double Taxation Convention aims to eliminate double taxation, in addition to meeting the obligations arising from tax information and trade, as set out in the OECD`s international tax standard. The agreement also improves Australia`s services, trade and investment prospects, improves the regulatory and investment environment between the two countries and promotes increasing business mobility.
The United States is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Marrakesh Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO) contains rules for trade among the 154 members of the WTO. The United States and other WTO members are currently participating in the WTO negotiations on development in Doha and a strong and open Doha agreement on both goods and services would go a long way in managing the global economic crisis and restoring the role of trade in promoting economic growth and development. Panama`s rice industry, which supplies more than 90% of domestic demand, also argued that opening up the subsidized rice market in the United States would decimate its industry, which, because of its protection, sold rice well above the world market price. Indeed, the USITC report estimates that the free trade agreement, if fully implemented, will have the greatest impact on rice exports to the United States. Although the rice provisions are not fully implemented until the 20th