U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA)

Rules of Origin

Step 2: Determine whether there is an advantage to claiming preferential treatment under the U.S.-Panama TPA

Sometimes a country’s tariff on an imported product from all countries (MFN rate) can be as low as or lower than the currently applicable FTA-negotiated preferential tariff rate (FTA rate). Since there are time and record-keeping costs associated with claiming eligibility of your product for the FTA rate, it is always a good idea to double check the current MFN tariff rate and compare it to the FTA rate.

There are two resources that will have pieces of the information you need: the FTA Tariff Tool shows you the FTA rate, including for future years, while the Customs Info Database show you the current MFN tariff rates.

  • FTA Tariff Tool - You can input the HS Code or tariff classification into the FTA Tariff Tool to identify the FTA rate agreed to for the product for this year and for future years. Panaman TPA rates for most products were set at zero as of October31, 2012, but rates on some products are staged down in increments from their starting rates to zero over a period of years. Note: Agricultural products are not yet included in this tool.
  • Customs Info Database - This database allows users to look up the current Panamanian MFN tariff rate for shipments originating in the United States and (coming shortly) compare it with the FTA rate, using the first four to six digits of the product’s HS Code. Users of Export.gov are offered a free trial of the system with registration. This database also includes the Value Added Tax for Panama for your product. Here are instructions for setting up an account for Customs Info Database.

Compare the FTA rate to the MFN rate to determine whether there is an advantage to claiming FTA tariff treatment. As long as the MFN rate is equal to or lower than the FTA rate, there may be no advantage to spending the time and effort to determine if your product qualifies for the FTA rate. However, if the FTA rate is lower, then you should determine if your product may qualify for the FTA rate. To do so, you will need to determine if your product is originating under the U.S.-Panama TPA.

Tip: Although most tariffs for qualifying US goods were eliminated under U.S.-Panama TPA on October 31, 2012, the tariffs on some products will phase-out over time. Where applicable, the new tariff rates will take effect on January 1st of each year. The FTA Tariff Tool provides you the ability to see when the tariffs on your product phase-out.

Tip: For U.S. origininating products to enter Panama under the preferential tariff rate, the importer must submit a claim for the FTA rate. This may be done by submitting a certification of origin or an importer attestation.

Tip: On some occasions, even if there is no difference between the FTA and MFN tariff rates, your importer may ask you to provide information that documents the origin of your product.

Step 3: Identify the Rule of Origin under U.S.-Panama TPA

The information presented on this website is meant to serve as a general guide. Only the agreement text and the customs regulations issued to implement the agreement are definitive. For complex issues or where interpretation is required, U.S. exporters should seek legal assistance.