Continues to explain the steps in applying Rules of Origin to your product to qualify under the Panama Free Trade Agreement
Last Published: 11/2/2016
For U.S. originating products to enter Panama at a preferential rate under the FTA, the importer must submit a claim. This may be done by submitting a certification of origin or an importer attestation.  No certification is needed if a shipment exceed $2,500 but the good is presumed to qualify.  Statement on a commercial invoice attesting to this effect will suffice. 

In general, the importer is responsible for claiming preferential treatment from the importing country’s customs authority. Therefore, it is up to the importer in Panama to make a claim for the FTA-negotiated preferential tariff rate (FTA rate) for qualifying products. However, the exporter or producer may be asked by the importer, customs broker, or the Panama Customs Service to provide a written or electronic certification or other information to support the importer’s claim.

While there is no required form for certifying origin, the minimum elements that must be included are:
1. The name and contact information (or other identifying information) of the person providing the certification;
2. the tariff classification and a description of the product;
3. information that describes and demonstrates that the product is originating (complies with a particular rule of origin)*;
4. date when the certification information is prepared; and
5. in the case of a certification covering multiple shipments of identical products, the period that the certification covers, not to exceed 12 months from the date the certification is prepared.
The importing country, or importer may require additional information beyond these specifics. Please note that the Panama Customs Service does not mandate a specific document under the U.S.-Panama TPA, nor is there a prescribed form or format for certifying origin.  (An exception. In accordance with the terms of your business arrangement, your importer may request that you provide the certification information in a particular form or format.).  You or your Panamanian buyer may use attached sample Certificate of Origin to demonstrate that your product qualifies for preferential treatment under the FTA.  If a party to transaction insists claims that a particular form is required by the Panama Customs Service, please contact the The Office of Trade Agreements Negotiations and Compliance.

The certification may be completed based on the producer’s or exporter’s knowledge that the product is originating; or for the exporter, reasonable reliance on the producer’s written or electronic certification that the product is originating.

The language used on the certification may be in either English or Spanish, although the importer may be asked to submit a translation in the local language.

On some occasions, even if your importer will not claim the FTA tariff, you may be asked to provide information that documents the origin of your product.

Tip: The certification may only be issued by the exporter, manufacturer, or importer; third party certificates (e.g., Chamber of Commerce) will not be accepted.

Keep your records.
Retain information and documents proving origin for a minimum of five years from the date of importation. Such records include:
a) Purchase, cost, value of, and payment for the exported product;
b) The purchase, cost, value of, and payment for all materials, including indirect materials Articles 4.11 and 4.23 in Chapter four of the  U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement, used in the production of the final product; and
c) The production of the final product in the form in which it was exported.
For questions relating to customs requirements for importing into the United States under the U.S.-Panama TPA, please refer to U.S. Customs and Border Protection interim regulations and implementing instructions or contact CBP, at fta@dhs.gov.

Note: 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.

Prepared by the International Trade Administration. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.



Panama Rules of Origin