Panama and Colombia will work on flexibilizing duty decree

Panama and Colombia agreed to work on easing a Colombian tariff decree that affects exports from the main Panamanian free zone and issued the Andean country after complying with a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling that vetoed those taxes.

This agreement took place during a bilateral meeting between the Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela and the Colombian Juan Manuel Santos in the framework of the Mesoamerican presidential summit of the Mechanism of Dialogue and Concertation of Tuxtla that took place this Wednesday in Costa Delicious.

The Panamanian Presidency reported in a statement that the decree came into force in November 2016 and was "promulgated in Colombia following the WTO ruling urging it to withdraw the mixed tariff on imports of textiles and footwear from the Free Zone of Colón "(ZLC).

Last February the government of Panama petitioned the WTO for authorization to impose trade sanctions on Colombia for $ 210 million because it considers that Bogotá has not complied with the ruling of the body that urged it to withdraw the tariff on imports of textiles, clothing and Panamanian footwear.

The WTO Dispute Settlement Body decided on March 3 to create a panel to determine whether or not Colombia complied with the ruling of the organization that urged it to withdraw payment.

The tariff conflict between the two countries began in 2012, when Colombia began to apply tariffs of 10% to footwear and textiles and a charge of $ 5 for each container from the FTA, and Panama went to the WTO, whose failure Was appealed by Colombia without success.

On November 2, the Colombian government replaced the tariff by two decrees which, in its view, comply with the WTO ruling and which, according to Panama, harden customs control and impose new restrictions on access to the Colombian dress market And footwear re-exported by the ZLC.

In today's bilateral meeting, the presidents of Panama and Colombia also "highlighted the excellent coordination that exists in matters of security and migration," according to the official statement.

In addition, "they reiterated the interest expressed in October 2016 to support other governments in the region in their fight against transnational crime that threatens peace and security in America."

President Varela also reiterated to Santos "his complacency for the signing of the Peace Accords in Colombia and reaffirmed his commitment to accompany the neighboring country in the face of the challenges of substitution and eradication of drug crops."

Following the conflict over tariffs, Panama increased its taxes on imports of products that usually come from Colombian soil, such as flowers, coal and cement, and approved a retaliation law that establishes migratory and commercial measures against countries that discriminate against the country, Which has not been implemented.

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