PANAMA CITY – Panama’s foreign ministry on Friday published a list of 20 countries that discriminate against Panamanian imports as a first step toward establishing reciprocity measures.
The list includes Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, Croatia, Slovenia, Estonia, France, Greece, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Cameroon, Georgia, Russia and Serbia.
Hours before, Panamanian Trade Minister Augusto Arosemana told the press that the publication of the list was a “very novel step in our country’s foreign policy.”
“We have the responsibility to defend the interests of Panama on the world stage. When we passed the retorsion law in 2016 ... we had anticipated this step but we evidently had to exhaust prior efforts,” the minister said.
In September 2016, the Panamanian congress passed a retorsion law that reinforces the migratory, fiscal and tariff measures that the government can use to retaliate against other countries.
France included Panama on a list of tax havens in April 2016, after the “Panama Papers” scandal broke out showing how rich individuals and corporations use offshore schemes to avoid taxes, while Colombia has applied tariffs on certain re-exports from the Panamanian Colon Free Trade Zone for more than five years, despite a World Trade Organization ruling against it.
In December 2016, Panama was also included on a European Union blacklist of tax havens, although one month later the Central American nation and seven other countries were taken off and put on an under observation grey list.