The commercial activity in the Colon Free Zone (CFZ), located in the Panamanian Caribbean and considered the largest in the continent, reached 20,931 million dollars in 2018, representing a 6.5% increase compared to the previous year, the commercial emporium reported Tuesday.
Imports registered an increase of 7% compared to the data of 2017 and stood at 9.855 million dollars, while re-exports grew from 6.2% to 11.076 billion dollars.
The data was revealed on Tuesday during a ceremony in which it was announced the creation of a working group to recover the attractiveness of the free zone, integrated by the management of the commercial emporium -which depends on the central government-, the merchants themselves and the Logistics Business Council (LBC).
The free trade zone, which is located a few meters from the Atlantic entrance of the Panama Canal and is the second largest in the world after Hong Kong (China), employs more than 25,000 people and keeps about 3,000 companies dedicated to re-export
The commercial emporium went through a severe crisis in 2015, when its revenues fell by almost 8%, mainly due to the economic situation in Venezuela, to the tariffs that Colombia applies to the re-exports of some products and to the revaluation of the dollar.
China, with whom Panama established diplomatic relations in June 2017 and negotiates a free trade agreement (FTA), is the largest supplier in the Panamanian free trade zone, where the Chinese giant Huawei also has one of its global distribution centers.
The Chinese multinational Hikvision, considered the world's largest manufacturer of video surveillance equipment, also announced this month that it will soon move its distribution center for Latin America from Miami (USA) to Colon.