Thanks to the free trade agreement between the United States and Panama signed Oct. 21 2011, new products will be available in Panama and some existing products will be available at better prices.
In addition, it is now likely that some retail and supermarket chains from the United States including Walmart could be opening in Panama soon.
According to an article in Prensa.com, “The launch of the Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) with the United States completely changes the definition which previously existed for wholesale trade in the country.”
The article continues, “In negotiating the deal it was agreed with American businesses investing more than $3 million and also providing services, even though they would be selling directly to consumers, would be classified as ‘-multi-service businesses.’ “In this way, companies such as Walmart could be established in the country. This was established in the letter accompanying the TPA regarding the term “retail commerce” tab of Annex I by Panama. In addition, the draft law dictates 515-dispositions acquired in the TPA, – amending the definition for wholesale trade, aligned to the aforementioned letter. It also leaves open the possibility for investors from other countries. ”
An article in Laestrella.com.pa reports that the Deputy Minister of International Trade Negotiations, Diana Salazar, said: “There is a letter attached to the Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) that discusses retail trade, where companies complying with the requirements may operate in the country”.
“Rumors that Walmart is interested in entering the Panamanian market emerged in 2009. If realized, the U.S. will compete directly with the chains El Rey, El Machetazo, Xtra, Súper 99, and Price Smart, which currently dominate this market segment.”
In Central America, the chain already has presences in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.