As of 2014. the top five Panamanian exports are refined petroleum, passenger and cargo ships, packaged medicaments, bananas and special-purpose ships. While not the largest provider of coffee and sugar exports, the quality of Panama exports of these items is held in high esteem. The top five recipients of these exports are Ecuador, South Korea, Guatemala, Costa Rica and the United States.
The sixth through 10th largest Panamanian exports are coal-tar oil, gold, crude petroleum, large construction vehicles and petroleum gas. The top sixth through 10th recipients of Panama’s exports are Indonesia, El Salvador, Greece, Canada and the Netherlands.
The Panama Canal is a hub for many international-trade transactions, and Panama’s trades are an important part of the nation’s economy. Most of Panama’s trades are held in one of the largest free-trade zones in the world, the Colon Free Trade Zone, and the United States is its key trade partner. Panama and United States entered a Bilateral Investment Treaty in 1982 designed to develop Panama’s economy and protect private investments by the United States.
Although bananas are not the top export of Panama, they are the country's top agricultural export. Along with Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Colombia and Ecuador, Panama fought to provide bananas for the large company United Brands, now well-known as Chiquita Brands.