Family business presence of President Varela at China Expo causes controversy

amily business presence of President Varela at China Expo causes controversy
  • EFE

The  Family business of President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, causes  again controversy after he had a representation of the family Rum company "Varela Hermanos" at the International Import Expo in Shanghai. Varela said today that the company of his family should not be excluded from the Panamanian presence at the exhibition in China.

In an exclusive interview with Efe, after inaugurating the Panama pavilion at the Expo in China, Varela said that the company - which sells "Abuelo" rum - is "the largest exporter in the country" and "the one that pays more taxes".

"They do not have to be excluded, they pay for their trips, their costs and everything, I did not know that I would create controversy" their presence, said the president. "I thought that more controversy was going to create the short time that I will be here because we are in the middle of national holidays, but good in public life the controversy is part of this, the most important thing is to turn the winds against energy to fly higher, " he added.

On the other side, the executive vice president of Varela Hermanos, Luis Varela, told Efe that they have sold rum to China for five or six years and since last year they have a permanent representative in Shanghai.

Many have been the criticisms that have come to light after the trip of President Varela to China. Some of them are related to the presence of familiar faces of media, especially television, in China.

Lawyer Sidney Sittón quoted on his Twitter account: "The photos of journalists in China, making public relations to the Government of Panama, reminds me when in dictatorship they took communicators who then praised the military boot and, more recently, trips paid by Odebrecht to Brazil with bacchanalia included. " As he also noted: "Write it down, at the end of his term the president of Panama will lose his visa to the US, for his delivery to #China to satisfy personal interests."

Despite the criticism, President Varela took advantage of his visit to the Expo held in Shanghai to express his support for China's trade policy of promoting economic openness. "We want to send a clear message of support for the policy expressed by (Chinese President) Xi Jinping that there are sufficient resources for all to live in a dignified way," the president said after inaugurating the pavilion of Panama in the first International Exhibition of Imports in China.

The Government of Panama points out that the recent visit of the president, Juan Carlos Varela, to Cuba and currently in Shanghai, China, seek to strengthen and expand relations with both countries for the benefit of the Panamanian nation.

President Varela mentioned that "Panama is not only located in the waist of America and crossed by an interoceanic canal that connects the Atlantic and the Pacific, but its relationship with the oceans has marked its historical, political and social development", he also recalled. that the registry of ships with the Panamanian flag is the largest in the world.

With the visit to China, therefore, it is intended to present "our logistics platform of services and maritime and air connectivity of Panama as a meeting point and union between Asia and Central America and the Caribbean, using our channel," insisted the President.

Panama restored diplomatic relations with China in June last year, when it announced the recognition of the "one China" principle and the end of the diplomatic relations it maintained until then with Taiwan, starting a new stage in the relationship with the giant Asian. Panama negotiates a free trade agreement (FTA) and has signed more than 20 cooperation agreements with China since both countries established diplomatic relations in June 2017.

"Once we established diplomatic relations, our ties have been strengthened with more investment, more presence of Chinese companies in our country, and now the effort begins not only to offer our services as a country but also to export products to this market", emphasized the president.

China is Panama's second largest trading partner after the United States and is the second most important user of the Panama Canal and the main supplier of the Colon Free Zone, the country's main free trade zone.

Source-EFE / Editor

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