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Panama, U.S. Launch Environmental Cooperation Under Trade Pact

Published on 07 February 2014

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by Office of the Spokesperson


Washington, D.C.

Silvano Vergara Vásquez,  Judith Garber And Sarah Stewart Participate In A Panel
Silvano Vergara Vásquez, Judith Garber And Sarah Stewart Participate In A Panel

Panama and the United States inaugurated their environmental cooperation under the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) with meetings January 29 in Panama.

The director for environment and natural resources from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), Sarah Stewart, traveled to Panama to co-chair the first meeting of the United States–Panama Environmental Affairs Council (EAC) and participate in the first session of the U.S.-Panama Environmental Cooperation Commission, according to a February 4 USTR blog post.

“The Council and Commission meetings are an important way for the United States and Panama to exchange information about respective efforts to continue to implement the Environment Chapter of the TPA, identify pressing challenges and priority areas for environmental cooperation, and formulate a plan to achieve further progress,” the blog post said.

The United States and Panama have a long history of economic cooperation that was cemented in the TPA, which entered into force on October 31, 2012, USTR said. The TPA promotes economic growth and trade, but also includes important provisions to advance the countries’ mutual commitment to strengthen environmental protection.

The council reviewed several areas of progress under the TPA’s Environment Chapter, including actions taken by the United States and Panama to increase levels of environmental protection, effectively enforce environmental laws, and provide opportunities for public participation in environmental governance and the trade policy-setting processes.

The council also set concrete next steps for establishing an independent secretariat to receive submissions from the public regarding concerns that one or both parties are not effectively enforcing their environmental laws.

The Environmental Cooperation Commission reviewed ongoing environmental cooperation activities and approved and signed the first U.S.-Panama Environmental Cooperation Work Plan under the United States–Panama Environmental Cooperation Agreement, which provides a robust framework for advancing environmental cooperation in the coming years.

The meetings culminated with a public session in which more than 30 stakeholders engaged in an active discussion with government officials about implementation of the TPA Environment Chapter, existing environmental cooperation programs and plans for further cooperation.

For more information, see the Joint Communique of the U.S.-Panama Environmental Affairs Council and Environmental Cooperation Commission.


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Posted 2014-02-07 09:54:00