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Panama-U.S. FTA Overview

Latest News on the Panama FTA

The Bush administration began negotiations to expand NAFTA to Panama on April 25, 2004, and concluded them on December 19, 2006 - just in time to give a rotten Christmas gift to the Panamanian and American people, and in total disregard for the fair trade sweep of the 2006 midterm elections.

Many in Congress oppose the Panama FTA because it is a Bush hangover NAFTA-CAFTA-style agreement that reflects the priorities of that administration's corporate backers, rather than the fair-trade reform agenda that American voters backed by electing Barack Obama. President Obama, along with 72 new fair-trade members of Congress from both parties elected in 2006 and 2008, replaced supporters of NAFTA-style trade policy, and have criticized the Clinton-Bush model, which the Panama FTA replicates. A long list of labor, consumer, environmental, faith, family-farm and other organizations oppose the Panama FTA because of the agreement’s actual NAFTA-CAFTA-replicating terms.

However, the problems with the notion of a U.S. FTA with Panama extend beyond what is contained in the pact's text. Despite Panama's status as one of the world's top venues for tax evasion and money laundering, the FTA does not directly or indirectly remedy Panama's problems with tax evasion and money laundering. There are no special requirements that take into consideration, much less try to counter, Panama's banking secrecy rules, lax financial service regulations or designation as a venue for money laundering and tax evasion. In fact, if the Panama FTA were adopted, it would make these matters of bipartisan concern worse.

This agreement is a throwback to a past era, as its expansive limits on financial service regulation highlight. The pact was negotiated by the Bush administration and clearly predates the bipartisan consensus created by the meltdown that better regulation of financial service is necessary for markets to work productively.

Hot Issues

» New Report: Panama FTA Would Undermine U.S. Efforts to Stop Offshore Tax-Haven Abuse and Regulate Risky Financial Conduct

» Letter from environmental groups opposing Panama FTA

» Minimal 'Fixes' Needed to Bush's Hangover FTAs

» Citizens Trade Campaign letter of opposition to Panama FTA

» Peter Riggs: Why are we negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with Tax Haven Panama?

    » trade | afta | panama

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