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The Panama-China FTA resumes negotiations

China Panama
  • critica.com.pa

Panama- China’s recent success in trade relations has resulted in a large number of agreements and exchanges that will take place throughout 2019 and 2020 mainly, as well as the end of 2018 with the performance of plays  and negotiations in the Panama Canal and the Colon free trade zone.

After the participation of Panama in the Economic Fairs recently held in the Asian country, the Government of Panama on Tuesday described as successful the participation of the 23 companies in the First International Import Exhibition, becoming the host of the next XIII China-LAC Summit, to be held in Panama City in 2019, organized by the Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MICI) and the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama (CCIAP).

Along with this list, there’s possibility of trading with the Chinese market products such as meat, fish, seafood, dairy and fruit, after the experts in the area review the local production plants and approve the management that would give a new boost and identity to the Panamanian market.

Other agreements include the purchase intend that Primero Cuarenta Group obtained with Shanghai Hua Shen Import and Export Company for the amount of 500,000 dollars for the one-year export license; Productos Lux S.A. PROLUXA (sauces, vinegar) and Atlantis Products (chicken legs) signed with the same Chinese company to act as agent in the Asian market; HT Zanetatos established trade cooperation relations with Anhui (Chaohu) Imported Food Industrial Park; Simply Natural Harvest won the tender for the export of pineapples and other fruits to the Asian country, according to the report presented by the Ministers of Trade and Industry, Augusto Arosemena and of Agricultural Development, Eduardo Carles.

After the announcement of the ministers, the ICIM also announced that the fourth round of negotiations for the free trade agreement (FTA) between Panama and China has a date. The information spread via twitter announced that this conversation will be between November 19 and 23 in the Central American country and also informed of the great interest by the authorities of the new ally in accelerating the verification processes of the Panamanian production plants. 

The positive stocktaking presented by the same agency in matters of intellectual property, cooperation and rules of origin, achieved in the third round of negotiations, which together with the 1.344 million dollars in import and 42.6 million dollars of export of Panama with China, set a positive precedent in the first instance.

Although both countries have long time in alliance, since they approached positions in 2017 more than thirty agreements have been signed that made the limitation of coffee, cattle skins and fishmeal, move to a wider market for the future, opening the door to new projects such as the bullet train that will link the capital with the western province of Chiriquí requiring an investment of 5,000 million dollars.

Despite the interesting figures presented for the future and the importance of China in both the Panama Canal and the Colon Free Zone, the criticisms are almost equivalent to congratulations, due to the participation of the family company of Juan Carlos Varela in the recent trade activities that took place in the Asian country.

Along with this, the high amounts of investment that could be set (especially in the project of the bullet train) generate some distrust in the ordinary Panamanian and also in high strata of society that oppose Varela, since after the accusations suffered by the legal body of the president around the case of Ricardo Martinelli and also the recent denunciations of embezzlement, fraud and corruption (cases like Pandeportes and PAN), imply that it can be an opportunity to feed more actions of the same type.

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