Panama axes US spirits duty

The US-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement has come into force, representing "significant new access in an expanding spirits market" according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the US.

Panama  has officially eliminated its 15% tariff on US distilled spirits products so that American whiskeys, rums, and other spirits products now enter Panama duty-free.  Panama has also agreed to recognise Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey as distinctive products of the United States. This protection ensures that only Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey produced in the United States under US regulations will be sold as such in Panama.

Christine LoCascio, DISCUS senior vice president for international trade said:  “American distillers of all sizes can celebrate today’s implementation of the US-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement because it will ensure that US spirits exports to Panama continue to expand, supporting American jobs and boosting industry growth."

US exports of spirits to Panama were valued at nearly $7.2 million in 2011, representing a 51.3% increase from the previous year.  For January-August of 2012, US spirits exports increased 18% relative to the same period in 2011.

 LoCascio continued: “The tariff reductions and distinctive product recognition obtained in this agreement will provide new opportunities for US spirits exporters.  Our member companies look forward to continued success in the exciting Panamanian market.”