Import tariffs on flowers will rise from 15% to 30%, those on cement clinkers from 0% to 30%, and import duties of clothing will go from between 10% and 15% to 30%.
The increase in tariffs comes on top of a 7% payment on account of the Tax on the Transferof Goods, Furniture and Services (ITBMS) in the case of cement clinkers and clothing.Seedecreepublished in the official newspaper La Gaceta.(In Spanish)
Colombian businessmen have pointed out the damage caused to their business dealings with Panama by the respective governments inability to resolve continuing conflicts over the sharing of financial information and tariff policy.
Representatives from the Colombian Chamber of Commerce - Panama stressed the importance of Panama not only as a financial center but as a destination for its exports and investments, and urged government authorities to more quickly resolve the differences on issues of tariff policy and exchange of financial information. Currently the two countries are in the midst of a conflict over the charging of a tariff imposed by Colombia on footwear, textiles and clothing from the Colon Free Zone.
Colombian businessmen indicate that the entire region is a good market for exports and investment, and existing opportunities are not being taken advantage of.
Central America is a region with plenty of benefits for investment, with unlimited access to foreign exchange, protection of trademarks and patents, and this has not been taken advantage of by the Colombian industry, despite an FTA with three countries-Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, says the president of the Panamanian Colombian Chamber of Commerce, Eduardo Cristo.
At least two or three additional negotiation rounds will be necessary to close the Free Trade Agreement between the countries.
In addition to the core topic of “what, how much and how” to remove tariffs between both countries, there will be tough discussions regarding rules of origin, labeling and customs regulations. These issues will push back the negotiation beyond June, so the conclusion of this agreement will be a responsibility of the upcoming Colombian government of Manuel Santos.
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