THE WAR OF words and reciprocal taxation threats between Panama and its southern neighbor, Colombia, continues to warm up.
The latest shot across Panama’s bows comes from Colombia’s Ministry of Commerce of Colombia which has announced that companies from that country have invested almost $8 billion in Panama.
Minister María Claudia Lacouture provided the figure to the newspaper El Tiempo in an article about the current trade dispute between the two countries.
“What we see is that Colombia has erected measures to stop illegal trade, and Panama is putting up measures that affect legal trade,” the minister said.
Colombia has refused to abide by a World Trade Organization ruling that has determined its tariffs on textiles and footwear from Panama’s Colón Free Zone violate its regulations. Colombia has argued that the tax is needed to combat smuggling and money laundering.
Last week, Panama Minister of Economy and Finance Dulcidio De La Guardia presented a proposal to the National Assembly to expand the scope of the law that allows Panama to expand the discriminatory measures it can take against countries that discriminate against it.
That could raise the tax on goods from Colombia to 40 percent..