CNBC interviewed Panama finance minister Dulcidio de la Guardia during the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, touching on a variety of subjects impacting Panama’s economy.
The minister countered any suggestion the economy has been damaged by the Panama Papers scandal, saying Panama is “much more” than simply a financial center.
“That’s why we continue to attract strong FDI [foreign direct investment] into the country,” he told CNBC. “Last year, FDI grew 18 percent in comparison to 2015. And we will continue to develop our strengths and our competitive advantages in the future.”
He also presented Panama’s recent efforts to clear the lingering issues around transparency in the banking and tax system.
“Panama has been working with international community, with the global forum to make sure that we meet the international standards and Panama is on the forefront on this issue,” de la Guardia said.
But no interview these days would be complete without addressing the elephant in the room—the potential impact of Pres. Donald Trump’s policies.
“It is unlikely that Donald Trump will change the policy where the U.S. is exporting more goods to Panama than Panama is exporting to the U.S.” he told the reporters. “We are concerned in terms of immigration. Because Panama is the leading country in terms of GDP growth in Latin America. We may see more immigrants coming from Central America and from Mexico into Panama instead of going to the U.S.”
Read excerpts from the interview here, and here is the video:
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