By Duncan McGowan
A year after Panama announced a groundbreaking new relationship with China, progress on economic deals has been “impressive” and there is more to come, Pres. Juan Carlos Varela announced this week.
Without a doubt, there has been an amazing swirl of announcements since formal diplomatic ties were announced last June, on everything from direct flights from China to a feasibility study to build a new train route to David. In many ways, there has been nothing like it in the region, as Panama and China embraced the many possibilities of working together on trade, cultural and education issues.
In a Cabinet meeting devoted to China this week, Varela presented the long list of achievements, including plans for the Bank of China to open a regional headquarters in Panama and progress on free trade agreement negotiations, according to coverage in La Prensa.
The trade agreement could provide a direct boost to Panama’s already fast-growing economy, especially if Panama is further established as the primary distribution point for Chinese goods in the area. More details on the negotiation process are expected later this month, Varela said.
Looking back, it is really remarkable how much has been accomplished in one year. Embassies were established in both countries and more than 23 agreements were signed on different economic and cultural issues.
We’ve already seen an impact on the local property market, as more Chinese buyers and renters enter the market. They are establishing both economic and social roots in the city and it’s been fun to see the change, in only one year.
The best part: we know the relationship between Panama and China has just started, and there will be many more exciting announcements in the near future.
Image courtesy: South China Morning Post