As a result of the conflicts arisen in many sectors of the Panamanian community and the lack of transparency in Panama-China negotiations, in an exclusive interview with Panamatoday.com, lawyer Sidney Sittón expressed his opinion and concern about this matter. Previously a year ago, the lawyer reported us a series of unlawful businesses and money deposited in banks in China from Odebrecht, when the scandal of the construction company broke out worldwide and the plot became public. He denounced that there were some businesses outside the law between members of the Panamanian government in the Asian giant land. Sittón said, "as you can remember in your newpaper’s interview and the documents that I submitted you a year ago , here is the link to the exclusive interview https://www.panamatoday.com/panama/exclusive-sitton-here-you-have-odebrecht-documents-4541. I presented and denounced in the public prosecutor's office all the accounts that were opened with Odebrecht money in Hong Kong, all the payments made to various factories in China. I also sent those documents to the United States government ; at that time I knew that the public prosecutor's office was not going to do an honest investigation and that is why I sent those documents to the United States because I had all the information and because the accounts that were opened there involved Odebrecht's money".
Sittónn said that there are other elements that will reinforce these claims, "I complied with bringing it to the attention of other authorities abroad and I assume that there has been some kind of investigation and these resources had to be traced back to where they were deposited and who were the beneficiaries. At that time, the payments and transfers made to the banks and companies where supplies were purchased and sent to Panama, I provided the information. We have much more information that will be released ay the end of this government because naturally it is when an investigation will be done according to lawful and transparent investigation, with a prosecutor's office that is really willing to exercise the law of a State's criminal action".
In the words of the lawyer, "At this moment Panama along with other countries is being evaluated by the United States because they said that relations between Panama and China are not transparent, which means that there has been some money involved in it and the Salvadorian ambassador said that not only the removal of visas from Salvadoran officials are being revised , but also other governments that include the Republic of Panama. You have a very dramatic situation. So far I do believe that there will be a firm position set by the US government regarding the evaluation of the removal of the visa to those people from these governments, including Panama and their families. To me it is a matter of time, for these visas to be removed ."
Meanwhile, the former Ambassador Guillermo Cochez, also claimed the secrecy and lack of transparency of the negotiations between President Juan Carlos Varela and China. "It is a unilateral decision, without any discussion, which was carried out by President Varela, without any consultation with the affected sectors. The secrecy of the agreements signed with China, the president's isolation concerning this problem, the appointment of a second cousin of the President in the Embassy of Panama in China and the decision he had taken to give four hectares in front of the Panama Canal to the embassy of the Republic of China, the first thing the ships were going to see when entering the Pacific was the Chinese flag, because we knocked it down. All that means that we have a relation with China that is being very badly handled," he said in a very worried tone. See the full interview at https://www.panamatoday.com/panama/secrecy-and-suspicion-about-agreements-signed-between-panama-and-china-8040
Meanwhile, in Panama, the third round of negotiations for an FTAA that includes aspects such as barriers to trade, customs procedures, intellectual property or electronic commerce, is part of the negotiation agenda that began on Tuesday, informed the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (Mici) of Panama. In the second round, which concluded in Beijing on August 28 after four days, the parties agreed that Panama can withdraw any Chinese product that does not comply with its sanitary regulations from its market. The (Mici) then informed that the parties had not yet reached an agreement on the so-called "trade defense measures", whose main objective is to protect the Panamanian market against low-cost imports, and have not agreed on specific products will they have access to markets in each country, the source said in a statement.
The governments of both countries officially launched negotiations on June 12 at a ceremony in Beijing, coinciding with the first anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Last year, Panama imported goods and services from China worth 1,344 million dollars and exported products worth 42.6 million dollars, including coffee, cattle skins and fishmeal, according to official data.
The Asian country is the first supplier of the Colon Free Zone, the largest free zone in the hemisphere, located in the Panamanian Caribbean, and the second most important user of the Panama Canal, through which about 6 percent of trade world passes, after the United States.
In turn, the fact of Panama's new relations with China are influencing relations with the United States, which is in a trade war with China due to the increase in tariffs and the intrusion (worse than the Russian intrusion) in the next American legislative elections. Since September 24, the American government has imposed tariffs of 10% worth 200,000 million dollars to Chinese products, which has been the third round of sanctions imposed by Washington on the Asian giant to which the Chinese government responded to that measure by applying liens of 60,000 million dollars to US agricultural products. The first battery of sanctions by the Government was applied in July and meant a levy on Chinese imports (the majority of the technological sector) for 34,000 million dollars, while the second one was 16,000 million dollars.