On May 21, 2014, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued final rules to implement provisions related to customs as well as preferential tariff treatment of the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA), also known as the U.S.-Panama Free Trade Agreement. These rules take effect on June 20 and do not consist of any changes to the interim rules that were published by CBP on October 23, 2013.
The TPA was signed on June 28, 2007 and President Obama signed the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act, which implemented the agreement into law, on October 21, 2011. CBP administers the provisions of the TPA as well as the implementing statute relating to imports of goods into the United States from Panama.
Customs-related provisions in the TPA require implementation through regulations and include both tariff and non-tariff provisions. A new Subpart S in Part 10 of the CBP regulations consists of the majority of the TPA implementing regulations that were presented in CBP Dec. 13-17. The amendments address import requirements and obligations, merchandise processing fees, rules of origin, temporary importations under bond, exporter obligations, inspections and examination of import merchandise, post-importation duty refund claims, and information collection.
According to the final rule, in cases where implementation is more appropriate in the context of an existing regulatory provision, the TPA regulatory text has been incorporated into an existing Part within the CBP regulations. The final rule also states that CBP Dec. 13-17 also sets forth a number of cross-references and other consequential changes to existing regulatory provisions to clarify the relationship between those provisions and the new implementing regulations.