In a diplomatic coup for Panama, China president Xi Jinping will make his first official state visit to Panama in the first week of December.
The visit is further evidence of the importance of Panama to China, as well as the meteoric turnaround in the relationship in the last year. Since Panama and China formally launched the renewal of formal diplomatic ties, there has been a whirlwind of deals and agreements, which are already having a profound impact on China’s economy.
The growing Chinese influence can also be found in the property market, as more Chinese companies expand their interests here, requiring rentals for their executives.
Panama and China are also boosting their tourism connections, as we’ve been discussing in recent weeks. China is the largest group of travelers in the world and even a small increase in visitors to Panama will impact the tourism industry.
According to a statement from the president, Xi and Panama President Juan Carlos Varela will sign about 20 agreements in areas including commerce, technology, and infrastructure, during the visit, which was labeled “unprecedented.”
Panama and China have been in a wide variety of trade talks since last July “that could turn the Central American country into a hub for Chinese goods across Latin America,” Reuters notes.
China is the second biggest user of the canal after the U.S., and its construction companies are involved in a wide variety of projects in Panama, including the fourth bridge over the Panama Canal. Panama and China have also been exploring the possibility of developing a train route to David.