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Panama approves FTA with U.S.
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14:04, July 12, 2007

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Panama's National Assembly on Wednesday ratified a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States after it was signed in Washington two weeks ago.

The legislature approved the pact with 58 votes in support, three vetoes and one abstention. The agreement now has to be ratified by the Democrat-controlled U.S. Congress.

U.S. lawmakers forged new trade policy guidelines that require FTA countries to adopt and enforce laws that abide by basic international labor standards.

However, farmers and unions held protests to oppose the free trade treaty, noting that Panamanian producers cannot compete with their U.S. counterparts.

Almost half of Panama's imports come from the United States while most of Panama's exports already enter the U.S. without duties under other programs such as the Caribbean Basin Initiative or the Generalized System of Preferences.

Source: Xinhua

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