Frequently Asked Questions
These answers and more can be obtained from the Work Procedures for Submissions Handbook.
Any person or company from Panama or the United States can present a submission stating that Panama or the United States is not complying with their environmental legislation. An enterprise of a Party includes a non-governmental organization constituted or organized under the law of a Party.
Pursuant to Section 17.8 of the TPA, a United States person who asserts that the United States is not effectively enforcing its environmental law may not file a submission with the Secretariat, but may file such submission with the Secretary of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation established under the North American Agreement for Environmental Cooperation
A Communication must comply with:
- Be presented by a person of a Party
- Be a document in physical or digital format (If possible, the presentation should not exceed fifteen (15) pages, not including the annexes with documentary evidence);
- Be written in Spanish or English;
- Clearly identifies the petitioner making the communication;
- Include sufficient information to allow the Secretariat to contact the petitioner;
- Provide sufficient information to allow the Secretariat to examine the submission, including the identification of the Party (Panama or the United States) that is allegedly not effectively enforcing its environmental laws and any documentary evidence supporting the submission;
- Appears to be aimed at promoting compliance rather than harassing the industry; and
- Indicates that the matter has been communicated in writing to the relevant authorities of the Party in question and the response received from those authorities, if applicable.
- Physical communication by postal service to:
Secretariat for the Application of the
Environmental Legislation (SALA)
Luis Bonilla Street, 203
Panama City, Panama
- Communication by email to
- From the form on this web page
Once the communication is received, the Secretariat acknowledges receipt thereof within a period of no more than 7 calendar days and assesses compliance with all the requirements (see section 3 on requirements). The Secretariat will transmit your acknowledgment of receipt and all correspondence you send to a sender using any reliable means that records the sending of the acknowledgment or correspondence.
The Secretariat will forward the petitioner's communication to the Council. The Council was established under the TPA to oversee implementation and review progress under the environmental chapter of the TPA. The Council is composed of representatives at the cabinet level or equivalent from Panama and the United States. Initially, the Secretariat will forward the communication to the Council in the language in which it was received, and will provide the Council with a translation of the communication in the other official language of the Secretariat, when requested by a Council member or Contact Point.
Soon after transmitting the communication to the Council, the Secretary will prepare and transmit to the Council a draft public notice that briefly describes the communication and informs the public that the Secretary will review the communication in accordance with these Working Procedures in order to determine if you meet the requirements contained in section 3 (and described in Article 17.8(2) of the TPA). Unless the Secretary receives a Board decision directing otherwise, the Secretary will finalize and post the public notice 15 calendar days after the date you submit it to the Board. The Secretariat will consider all comments or proposed modifications received from any Council member during the 15-day period.
The Secretary must determine if the communication meets all the requirements within 30 calendar days after receiving the communication. If the Secretariat determines that the communication meets the requirements, it shall accept the communication for review and immediately notify the Board and petitioner.