Panama Not Taking Advantage of European Market

The quotas for duty free export of beef, rice and tuna negotiated in the Agreement with the European Union are not being exploited to the fullest extent by local producers.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Lack of certification by the meat processing plants for export, the crisis in the agricultural sector and the absence of incentives to produce exportable foods are some of the factors which, in the opinion of producers, are preventing the country from taking advantage of the tariff benefits granted to country under the Economic Association Agreement (AA).

The report by the Deputy Minister of Trade Negotiations, Ministry of Commerce and Industry (Mici), Diana Salazar, states that "... In the case of beef, the obstacle to exploiting the quota is lack of a certification from the EU for processing plants, while in regard to rice the problem is the lack of production. However, this lack of use of the trade agreement with the EU is not limited to the agricultural sector, the fishing industry has also been unable to exploit the facilities for exporting tuna. Added to this is current public policies which have been aimed at increasing the supply of food for the domestic market, however, the Mici is developing a program to increase exports. "

The former president of the Panamanian Association of Exporters, Manuel Fernández, told Capital.com.pa that "... The downward trend in records relating to the value of exports in recent years is not due to lack of markets, but lack of production and therefore that is the issue which should be resolved first. It will not help the country to continue exploring new markets because if there are no products to export its no use having a market to send it to. "

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