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Latin America and Caribbean

Support for Implementation of Panama’s International Trade Commitments

 
Client: Government of Panama

2008–2009

Panama’s strategically placed canal and decades of open commerce policy have made the country a popular trading partner. Panama has nearly a dozen trade agreements, including one with the US awaiting congressional approval. To properly manage all these agreements, Panama’s government hired CARANA in 2008 with funding from the Inter-American Development Bank to design a powerful software tool for Panama’s Trade Administration Agency (DGAT) to track agreement requirements, plan actions, and assist communications. 

Working with a small group of consultants from Colombia, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Venezuela, and the US, CARANA designed a web-based program called SICOD (Sistema de Información y Comunicaciones para la DGAT). This cutting-edge tool, unveiled in March 2009, enables easier monitoring and managing of deadlines, coordination between government agencies, and communication with exporters, importers, trading partners, and civil society. SICOD organizes commitments by agreement, chapter, and article and identifies all responsible parties and required actions—with sound alerts for upcoming deadlines. CARANA trained DGAT staff on the software and extracted specific required actions from the commitments in the US–Panama agreement.  

SICOD makes Panama a leader in Latin America, more equipped to comply with trade obligations and empowered to take full advantage of opportunities with its trading partners. During benchmarking, CARANA discovered that Chile, Costa Rica, and Mexico were using simple spreadsheets to administer multiple trade agreements. CARANA can also adapt its software for other countries seeking practical management of complex trade agreements.