Colombia and Panama have made good progress in the third round of their bilateral negotiations for a free trade agreement, according to the Panamanian Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Panama’s deputy minister for international trade negotiations, Francisco Alvarez de Soto, indicated that it was possible that a fourth round of talks would be held to seal the FTA deal.
Thursday the negotiators will continue to discuss public contracting, intellectual property, institutional affairs and permitted agricultural products. Meanwhile, talks will start on customs administration, facilitation of trade, financial services, dispute resolution, and the treatment of non-agricultural goods.
On Wednesday the delegates tackled the subject of rules and procedures of origin, which determine the requirements for a product to be defined as Panamanian or Colombian. The results of those discussions have yet to be made public.
In a press release, the ministry states that the “parties continued to make advances in the text that both countries were negotiating” and added that the cooperation chapter of the talks had been successfully closed on Tuesday.
In all the rounds of talks so far, the two countries have agreed on the final form of the preamble and the chapters on labor regulation, commercial protection, competency, transparency, environment, cross-border trade in services and maritime services, temporary entrance of businesspeople, external trade, electronic trade and cooperation.
The third round of trade talks are taking place from August 2 to August 6 in the El Panama hotel in Panama City. De Soto stated Monday that he did not expect the FTA to be finalized before the inauguration of President Juan Manuel Santos on Saturday, but that his country’s team would be satisfied if talks reach a stage where a fourth round is envisaged.