In a wide-ranging interview with CNBC, Panama minister of economy and finance Dulcidio De La Guardia said the Panama Canal expansion has been a “huge success” and generated $1.6 billion to the country.
De La Guardia also confirmed that Panama has “addressed all the issues related to transparency and financial crime,” and is meeting international standards.
On Jan. 23 the European Union formally removed Panama from its list of tax havens, recognizing the progress Panama has made in meeting international financial standards. The move was expected, but it still represents a major step forward for the country, confirming that Panama is operating at international levels and putting past stigmas in the rearview mirror.
Panama now boasts the highest credit rating in the region and there is no longer any question of Panama’s role in the international economy. Foreign investments accounted for 9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017, he said.
“The international community recognizes that Panama is a stable democracy and it is the fastest-growing country in Latin America,” he said.
The overall Latin America economy should be “much better” in 2018, with Brazil getting back on track, De La Guardia said. Growth in commodity prices should also help other countries, he said
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