In Panama, Canada is represented by the Embassy of Canada in Panama City which has been in operation since 1995. Prior to that time, the Canadian Ambassador to Costa Rica maintained accreditation to Panama. The Embassy promotes bilateral economic, political and social relations with Panama.
The Embassy serves as host to three regional offices: The Regional Office for Emergency Management (for Latin America and the Caribbean); the Regional Office for Mission Security (for Central America and specific missions in the Caribbean); and Export Development Canada’s Regional Office (for Central America and the Caribbean).
Panama is represented in Canada by an Embassy in Ottawa and has consulates in Vancouver, Toronto and Montréal.
Panama is an important partner with respect to Canada’s strategy for Engagement in the Americas and its three goals of increasing economic opportunity in Canada and the hemisphere, strengthening security and advancing freedom, human rights, democracy and the rule of law and fostering lasting relationships across government, business, civil society and communities.
Canada and Panama have established strong economic ties, and commercial relations continue to expand. Bilateral trade between Canada and Panama was $235.3 million in 2011, representing nearly 62% increase over 2009. Canadian merchandise exports to Panama were $111.2 million in 2011. Of this total, non-agricultural exports included shipments of aircraft, machinery, electrical and electronic machinery, ships, paper, pharmaceutical products, iron and steel products, coins and precious stones and metals, and motor vehicles. Agricultural and agri-food product exports included meat (mostly pork), vegetables (mostly lentils and peas), vegetable preparations (predominantly from potatoes), and fats and oils. In 2011, merchandise imports totalled $124.1 million, up from $40.7 million in 2009. The three-fold increase in imports between 2009 and 2011 was due to an increase in gold imports, which accounted for 91.2% of total imports. Other imports were fruits and nuts (mainly bananas and pineapples), machinery and equipment, fish and seafood, and coffee.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper traveled to Panama in August 2009, shortly after the election of Ricardo Martinelli in May 2009, to a five year term as President of Panama. The Prime Minister’s visit also marked the conclusion of free trade negotiations between Canada and Panama. In May 2010, Prime Minister Harper was witness to the signing of the Canada-Panama Free Trade Agreement (FTA) by the Honourable Peter Van Loan, then Minister of International Trade, and His Excellency Roberto Henríquez, Panama’s then Minister of Commerce and Industry. The Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity Act received Royal Assent on December 14, 2012 (see news release). Once it enters into force, the FTA will ensure that Canadian businesses are on a level playing field with competitors who already have or are seeking preferential access to the Panamanian market.
In 2008, Canada and Panama concluded an air transport agreement. This agreement put into place a new, modern framework for scheduled air services between Canada and Panama, consistent with Canada's Blue Sky international air policy. It is another instrument that supports increased commercial and tourist activity between our two countries.