Committee on Import Licensing - Import licensing system of Panama - Questions from the United States to Panama

import licensing system of Panama

questions from the United States to Panama

The following submission, dated 22 March 2022, is being circulated at the request of the delegation of the United States.





The United States of America understands that periodic volume limits for onion imports are recommended by the Potato and Onion Agri-Food Chain (Agri-Food Chain), endorsed by the Ministry of Agriculture (MIDA), and enforced by the Panamanian Food Agency (APA). 

According to the Technical Unit of the Agri-Food Chain's Proposal for Importation for the Agricultural Period 2021-2022, the United States understands that the Agri-Food Chain approved import volumes according to a supply analysis and that the Directorate of Agricultural Trade Policy and the Technical Unit of Agri-Food Chains awarded percentages of imports based on the percentage of national purchases. The volume limits appear to be a type of quantitative restriction and require importers to provide proof of total domestic onions purchased from January-May 2021 to receive import quantity allocations. The United States is concerned by MIDA's decision taken in May 2021 to limit volumes to importers who meet these requirements established by the Agri-Food Chain. The United States further understands once importers meet these requirements, and receive the allocated volumes, they must request approval through APA's prior notification system within 48 hours upon arrival for the imports to be cleared through Panamanian Customs Authority.

·              Please identify the measures, including the documents and their source, for the domestic purchase requirements.

·              What is the legal basis and objective for the domestic purchase requirements?

·              Please explain how the Potato and Onion Agri-Food Chain calculate the admissible volume quantities using the supply analysis.

·              How does the Agri-Food Chain calculate the quantities for domestic purchase requirement?

When does Panama intend to submit notifications to the WTO related to the domestic purchase requirements?