Varela calls "unnecessary situation" the tariff dispute with Colombia

The president of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, today described as "unnecessary situation" a long tariff dispute with Colombia, which this month extended rates that apply to clothing and footwear re-exported by the Central American country, in the context of a dispute that reached the WTO.

Panama, Nov 10 (EFE) .- The president of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, today described as "unnecessary situation" a long tariff dispute with Colombia, which this month extended rates that applies to clothing and footwear re-exported by the Central American country, in the context of a dispute that reached the WTO.

"It has been an issue that has created an unnecessary situation between the two governments and that has not allowed us to work 100%, "said Varela on Friday as part of an official ceremony for the 196th anniversary of the Cry of Independence given in La Villa de Los Santos, center of the country.

The Panamanian president valued that the commercial controversy has not impacted in the cooperation with Colombia in aspects like the security, since both governments "we follow working very united against organized crime. "

" We have an excellent relationship with the president (Juan Manuel) Santos and his government, "said the Panamanian leader, who However, he opined that "it has been a mistake" by his Colombian colleague "to have let the Colombian trade authorities fail to comply with the WTO ruling", which favored Panama.

Panama and Colombia have a longstanding dispute in the World Trade Organization (WTO) over tariffs applied by the Colombian authorities to the re-exports of textiles and footwear of the Colon Free Zone (ZLC), the largest in the hemisphere located in the Panamanian Caribbean.

The controversy began in 2012 and has gone through several stages, including a failure of the WTO in favor of Panama that forced Colombia to suspend the mixed tariff in November 2016.

The Colombian Commerce Department assured in November of last year that it stopped applying the mixed tariff.

Panama then explained that instead of the mixed tariff, Colombia began to apply two decrees that tightened customs controls and made it difficult in the same way imports of footwear and textiles from the CFZ.

On November 2, a decree signed by the Colombian ministers of Finance and Public Credit came into force, Mauricio Cárdenas, and of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, María Lorena Gutiérrez, who extended for 2 more years the measures adopted in November 2016.

These measures consist of a 40% tariff on apparel imports when the declared price is less than or equal to 10 dollars per kilo, and 35% for footwear with prices that range between 6 and 10 dollars per pair, according to the official Colombian information.

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