PANAMA CITY – The Panamanian National Assembly, after a third and final debate, ratified a trade agreement with Mexico, marking a crucial step toward the Central American country’s accession to the Alliance of the Pacific.
The bilateral agreement was signed in April.
To join the alliance, founded in 2012 by Peru, Colombia, Chile and Mexico, a country must have trade accords with each of the existing members.
Panama’s trade agreement with Colombia is still awaiting ratification by the National Assembly.
The accord with Mexico “protects farm and agro-industrial products crucial for Panama, such as chicken and pork meat, eggs, dairy, sausages, coffee and wheat flour,” according to the Panamanian Trade Ministry.
The list of Panamanian products protected under the agreement, the government said, includes rice, palm oil, tomato sauces and paste, potatoes, onions, sugar, some fruit juices and carbonated beverages, as well as industrial products such as plastics, paper and aluminum.
The trade agreement opens “new opportunities of access” to Mexican markets for Panamanian products including pineapple, papaya, hot pepper, fish meal and dry fish, electrolyte beverages, beer and paper goods.