Colombian Commerce Minister to visit Panama to address tariff dispute

Colombia’s Commerce, Industrial and Tourism Minister María Claudia Lacouture will visit Panama on 22 November 2016 to negotiate with the Panamanian government over Colombia's plans to reduce tariffs on products imported from the Colón Free Trade Zone (ZLC) (La Prensa, 3 November 2016). The tariffs, which previously failed to comply with World Trade Organization (WTO) standards, were reduced as part of two separate decrees, including one to combat contraband (Publimetro). Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela announced he will address the tariff crisis with Colombia during a Cabinet meeting on 8 November (La Prensa). In 2012, Colombia applied a 10 percent tariff on footwear and textiles from the ZLC, leading to a lawsuit from Panama, in which the WTO ruled in Panama's favor (Publimetro).