In the latest move in the fast-changing relationship with China, Panama is cutting back on restrictions for Chinese citizens seeking a visa to Panama.
Under terms of a new government decree approved Oct. 17, Chinese citizens will no longer have to undergo an investigation by the National Security Council to obtain a restricted visa, El Capital Financiero reports. They will still need to get a stamp from the Panama consulate, but the new measure should make it easier for Chinese tourists and business executives to visit Panama.
Panama and China have been in a whirlwind courtship since diplomatic relations were normalized in June. There have been high-level summits, promises to expand trade and the formal opening of embassies in both countries.
As we discussed in an analysis in July, the China relationship is huge news for Panama. Not only will it expand trade and grow the economy, the Chinese are avid property investors and tend to establish long ties to communities. Chinese companies are already an important part of Panama industry, including as bidders to build a new bridge over the Panama Canal.
The latest move was taken to “strengthen trade and tourism with the People’s Republic of China,” the government said in a statement. The announcement is also part of a detailed 12-point agenda agreed upon by both countries, as a framework to quickly increase ties.
In addition to removing the need for an interview, the new decree “also provides that a stamped visa may be issued for multiple entries and exits for up to three years, depending on the verification criteria of the officials designated in the consulates,” El Capital Financiero reports.