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Panama Import Regs.: Food

Discuss the sanitary standards, prohibited imports regulations, licenses, and free trade zone in Panama.

Panama Import Regs.: Food

Postby bridgat » Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:04 am

Decree Law No. 11 of 22 February 2006 introduced changes in the food import procedures. Since February 2006, for statistical purposes, all food imports have required the filing of an import form through the Sistema de Notificación de Importaciones de Alimentos (Food Import Notification System – SISNIA) 48 hours before unloading. The computer system determines whether the product on the corresponding form is classified as high risk, and if so the system warns the competent authorities of the need to carry out sampling at the border. No prior permit, licence or authorization is required to import food apart from the above-mentioned form. Nevertheless, the sanitary authority of the country of origin of the food must issue a sanitary or phytosanitary certificate indicating that the food complies with AUPSA requirements; these requirements are public and available on the AUPSA web site.

Moreover, the importation of canned, bottled or packaged food must be registered with AUPSA. Registration is an automatic procedure, there is no cost and no approval is required. The application for registration must contain the following information: name of product, manufacturer and importer; provenance; description of product and method of manufacture; date of production and use-by date; four labels; free sale certificate of country of origin; a sample of packaging; and a description of the batching system. However, the Panamanian Government may draw up a list of products by origin whose sanitary standards are internationally recognized. In this case, the product in question will also be exempt from registration and it is only necessary to present the free sale certificate of the country of origin.
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