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Panama: Minister accuses Colombia of blocking competition

 |  August 9, 2016

Colombia’s recent extension, by four months, of a series of import tariffs on textiles and footwear from Panama’s Colon Free Zone, has been denounced by Panama’s Minister of the Economy and Finance, Dulcidio De la Guardia, as a move to protect Colombian business interests from Panamanian competition.

“They are clearly reacting to protect their industrial and textile sector, and the delay on lifting the decree is a reflection of the lobbying by businessmen who don’t want to face competition from the Colón Free Zone” said the official.

Colombia has extended to November the imposition of a 10% import tariff to all textiles and footwear coming from Colón, as well as a $5 dollar container charge, applied since 2012. Colombia’s government has rejected claims of market protectionism, claiming the tariffs and charges are meant to combat contraband and money laundering. The claim has been rejected by Panama, which maintains the Colombian government’s move is motivated by local business interests.

Full Content: El Espectador

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