The Never Ending Tariff Conflict between Panama and Colombia

The Panamanian government has decided to increase, in some cases by up to 30%, import tariffs on several products, including flowers, cement and bituminous coal, most of which are imported from the South American country.

According to a Cabinet Decree published on January 10 in the Official Newspaper, the Panamanian government decided to modify several fractions of the National Import Tariff, taxing at 30% imports of roses, carnations, chrysanthemums, calla lillies, astomerias, gladiolas and “flor de confite” (Calyptronoma plumeriana (Martius) Lourteig), which mostly come from Colombia.

Imports of bituminous coal will be taxed at 15%, purchases of white cement at 5%. Added to the list of products with a tariff of 30% are toilet paper and paper towels.

Far from being resolved, the problem seems to be getting more and more complicated. What started more than two years ago with the imposition by Colombia of mixed tariffs on imports of textiles and footwear from Panama has turned into a kind of commercial war, in which both countries are using tariff increases to defend their position.

The new tariffs apply from February 1 of this year. See decree (in Spanish).

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