Cargo Transport: Agreement between Panama and Costa Rica

The Panamanian government announced that it had reached an agreement with the Costa Rican authorities that Panamanian heavy transport units would be given a 72-hour period to load and unload goods in tax offices.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Arguing that it was an attempt to mitigate the spread of the covid-19, the Costa Rican presidency decided that from 18 May only transporters carrying out direct border-crossing would enter Costa Rican territory, whose units would be subject to police surveillance. In response to this announcement, Central American business and transport associations have spoken out against it and called for the restrictions to be lifted.

See "Cargo Transport: Nicaragua Closes Border"

In this context, Panamanian and Costa Rican authorities decided to address the issue and reached agreements to continue trade by land, reported the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Panama (Mici).

Also see "Cargo Transport: Request to Suspend Restrictions"

From the Mici's statement:

May 20th, 2020. Panamanian transporters will be able to load and unload merchandise in Costa Rican fiscal precincts that are previously designated and will have a total of 72 hours to do this operation, after the National Government and Costa Rican authorities negotiated the implementation of a pilot plan to facilitate bilateral trade while the COVID-19 pandemic lasts, informed today the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Ramón Martinez de la Guardia.

Amidst diplomatic efforts and negotiations, where also participated the Foreign Minister Alejandro Ferrer and the General Director of the National Customs Authority, Tayra Barsallo; an agreement was established that contemplates better health and safety conditions for Panamanian cargo transporters, and to guarantee the supply of food and medicines.
 
"The National Government is optimistic about the agreement, since it will facilitate the flow of goods and regional trade in such a sensitive period in terms of health. In fact, this agreement includes the establishment of controlled routes, traceability and the use of authorized stops, as well as strict monitoring of health guidelines by the authorities of the sister country of Costa Rica," he said.
 
Minister Martinez reiterated that "our countries see it as imperative to seek temporary solutions that can be adapted to health and trade circumstances, but implemented quickly to make the border congestion will be reduced."
 
Last Monday, Panamanian and Central American authorities participated in a Special Meeting of the Council of Ministers of Economic Integration of Central America, where the formation of inter-institutional commissions per country was determined to present proposals that would help counteract the effect of the pandemic on regional trade development.



More on this topic

Foreign Trade: Costa Rica Lifts Restrictions

September 2020

As of September 24, the country's importing and exporting companies may accept land freight carriers at their facilities without prior authorization.

With the purpose of reducing the spread of the covid-19, in mid-May the government decided that only carriers with direct transit from border to border would enter Costa Rican territory.

Cargo Transport: Controversy Continues

July 2020

In response to the restrictions applied to Costa Rican pilots, who are prevented from leaving with cargo from Panama, since July 14 Costa Rica has not allowed trucks with Panamanian plates to leave carrying goods.

Because of the spread of covid-19, Costa Rica was the first country to impose restrictions on cargo transport units from other countries in the region.

Cargo Transport: Nicaragua Relaxes Measures

June 2020

From three to five days, the time that Costa Rican carriers have available to stay in Nicaraguan territory, to unload goods or for regional transit, was increased.

The measures imposed on heavy transport in the region have gradually been relaxed. The difficulties began when Costa Rica, arguing that it was trying to mitigate the outbreak of covid-19, unilaterally decided that as of 18 May only carriers carrying out direct border-to-border transit would enter Costa Rican territory, whose units would have to be subject to police surveillance. 

Central America Surpasses Commercial Jam

June 2020

After several days of tension generated by the restrictions imposed by Costa Rica on the transport of cargo from neighboring countries, Central American authorities reached an agreement and opened the way at the border of Penas Blancas.

In recent weeks the free transit of goods in Central America had been interrupted.

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