In the News from Panama

Is China Ready to Build Train from Panama City to David?

An intriguing possibility has emerged as Panama formally launches diplomatic relations with China. The Panama government has reportedly discussed the possibility of China building a high-speed rail line from Panama City to the province of Chiriqui.

This would be a game changer for Boquete and the popular second home destinations of the northern mountains. A high-speed train would cut the travel time from the capital and open a wide variety of new development opportunities in the area, a spectacular landscape of mountains and lush valleys, which is already popular with expat buyers. (PPR works with the Lucero Golf and Country Club, a one-of-a-kind destination golf and active lifestyle community in the hills outside Boquete.)

Vice president Isabel de Saint Malo reportedly discussed the train idea in preparation for this week’s visit by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, according to local media. The minister visited Panama City to launch China’s new embassy, after the formal launching of diplomatic ties earlier this year.

As we discussed earlier this year, the new China-Panama relationship should have far-ranging implications for both the Panama economy and the property market. China is already playing a large role in Panama and it tends to invest heavily in its preferred trading partners, creating long-term relationships. The Chinese community in Panama is already the biggest in Central America and China is the second largest user of Panama Canal.

A high-speed train to David may seem far-fetched, but it makes sense, in many ways. China is actively developing high-speed train technology and the Chinese government likes to invest in infrastructure, which also creates work for its fast-growing international construction companies. The north also represents untapped potential—a spectacular, unspoiled area that could benefit from foreign investment.

The Chinese foreign minister was greeted at the Presidential Palace by President Juan Carlos Varela. They certainly had many things to discuss.

Here is a video report on the Chinese foreign minister’s visit: