In recent days, Law 206 of March 30, 2021, which creates the Panamanian Food Agency (APA) and eliminates Decree Law 11 of 2006, was published in the Official Gazette.

The aforementioned law eliminates the Panamanian Food Safety Authority (AUPSA), in favor of the creation of the APA, which will be a State entity, whose main objective is the management and verification of procedures for the agro-industrial and industrial production of food; as well as the export and import of food, its transit and transshipment, in accordance with animal health, plant health, quarantine and safety regulations and international trade regulations.

Among the most relevant provisions, without limiting, we can mention the following:

  • Law 206 applies to raw materials, products and by-products of animal, vegetable and mineral origin for food uses, national and imported, in transit or transshipment, to industrial and agro-industrial production, export and import of food.
  • It is established that the ministries of Health, Agricultural Development and Commerce and Industries will be the institutions in charge of establishing sanitary, phytosanitary or safety requirements and standards, as well as general and specific technical regulations that the food products must comply with, for the transform, commercialize, export, import, transit and transship in Panama.
  • The creation of the "Integrated System of Procedures", which will serve to carry out virtual application procedures, including but not limited to: Sanitary registries of national and imported food; procedure for the importation of food; sanitary operating permits; issuance of certificates of free sale of national food products; phytosanitary certification of plants and vegetables for human and animal consumption; among others determined by law.

We must emphasize that Law 206 will take effect 180 days from its promulgation; and establishes that the Executive Branch has 90 days to issue a specific regulation.