News Column

Panama, Mexico to Start Free-trade Talks

July 17, 2013

Panama and Mexico will start here negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) at the end of July, the Panamanian government announced Tuesday.

The Panamanian government has sent several preliminary documents to its Mexican counterparts since the two sides expressed intentions last month to further facilitate trade, said Commerce and Industry Minister Ricardo Quijano.

Both sides aimed to conclude the trade talks as soon as possible,Quijano said, declining to give a deadline.

"I don't want to provide dates, because we are going to wait for the first round to finish. Then we will know how we are progressing towards the next round," said the minister.

Talks between the two countries on an FTA did not take place earlier since Mexico was negotiating agreements with other countries, Quijano noted.

Panama expressed interest in successfully signing an agreement with Mexico and in resuming talks with Colombia on a similar deal, as it is seeking full membership of the Pacific Alliance.

The entry into the alliance, a regional trade bloc founded in 2012 by Colombia, Mexico, Chile and Peru, requires Panama to fulfill an FTA with all its member countries.

Source: Copyright China Economic Information Service (Xinhua) 2013

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