Trade agreements boost Panama’s exports

Panama’s economy has shown resilience and dynamism in a global context marked by uncertainty and volatility, according to a recent report by the Commercial Intelligence Office of the Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MICI) on the performance of Panama’s goods exports during the first 11 months of 2022. The report indicates that Panama’s total goods exports amounted to US$3,303.2 million during this period, a 4.9% increase compared to the same period last year if we include copper concentrate. This increase is largely due to the leadership of copper and banana exports, which accounted for 76% and 3.6% of the total accumulated, respectively. It is important to note that if we exclude copper, Panama’s exports during this period reached the highest values since 2010, with a 16.5% increase in FOB value exported compared to the same period in 2021.

China, Japan, South Korea, Germany, and India are the main destinations for Panama’s copper exports, while the United States of America, the Netherlands, Taiwan, and the Colón Free Zone are the main markets for exports excluding copper. It is interesting to observe that 77.4% of Panama’s exports in the first 11 months of 2022 were sold to countries with which it has some current trade agreement, underscoring the importance of trade schemes for the development of Panama’s exports. The European Union ranks first, followed by the Central American Common Market (MCCA) and the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI).

After copper and banana, frozen shrimp, crude palm oil, and rough teak occupy the next places on the list of the most important export products. It is interesting to note that teakwood is valued for its quality and durability and is used in the manufacture of high-quality furniture and flooring, indicating a manufacturing industry with a high level of specialization. Moreover, the report highlights the fact that several products are being exported that had not been exported in many years, including medicines containing other antibiotics for veterinary use and oriented strand boards (OSB), suggesting a diversification of Panama’s exportable offer and an expansion of its export base.

It is also worth noting that the report emphasizes the importance of maritime transport for Panama’s exports, with 92% of total exports during the first 9 months of 2022 sent by this means. This is a reminder of the importance of the logistics and port sector for the country’s economic development.

The report from the MICI’s Commercial Intelligence Office on the performance of Panama’s goods exports during the first 11 months of 2022 is an encouraging indicator of the dynamism and adaptability of Panama’s economy in a challenging global context. It is important that the government and the business sector continue to work together to continue driving the growth and diversification of Panama’s exports in the years to come.

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