Panama and Colombia will officially begin negotiations Monday over the terms of a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) planned for later this year.
According to Colombia’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, the first round of negotiations will take place in Panama City between March 15 and 19, and the second round is scheduled for Bogota between April 12 and 16.
The details of the third and final round will be determined once the outcome of the first two rounds have been established, reported Colombian press.
The two countries in February signed a document laying out a framework for discussion, outlining 24 specific areas of interest, among them market access, rules and procedures regarding origin, customs administration, trade facilitation, and sanitation measures.
The agreement will also include specifications on government spending, investment, labor and the environment.
Colombia is one of the main users of the Zona Libre de Colon, a trade channel in the Panamanian Caribbean, and according to Panama’s Trade Ministry, $1.3 million of goods are re-exported annually by the country. Colombia’s exports to Panama in 2008 totaled some $273 million.