The links between Panama and Dubai, the trading center of the Middle East, are growing stronger, in a shift that should have long-term implications for Panama’s economy.
Dubai is looking to grow its Latin America presence and Panama is seen as a natural base of operation, according to a recent article in Arabian Business. There are many similarities between the two countries, including a focus on trade, an international identify and a skyline of skyscrapers.
Panama “is like looking in the mirror,” said Omar Khan, director of international offices for the Dubai Chamber. “It reminds us a lot of Dubai.”
From the property perspective, a growing relationship with Dubai will simply help the economy. But Dubai is also home to a wealth of property investors, who look for quality property around the world — and Panama is a natural destination.
In April, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry organized the first-ever Global Business Forum Latin America in Panama, which was seen as a major step forward for two countries
At this point, trade between Latin America and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is small. According to a study recently released by Dubai Chamber and the Inter-American Development Bank, “trade flows between Latin America and the Caribbean and the GCC amounted to $16.3 billion in 2018, with Gulf countries importing $10.9 billion and exporting $5.4 billion worth of products,” Arabian Business report.
The United Arab Emirates, including Dubai, accounted for 27 percent of exports to Latin America, as well as 46 percent of all imports from the region, “making it the most significant growth market for trade with the Americas,” the magazine reports. Non-oil trade between Dubai and Latin America has grown 71 percent to $6.29 billion compared to $3.68 billion in 2010.
“It is clear our efforts in Latin America are bearing fruit,” Dubai Chamber CEO Hamad Buamim told the paper. “We are here for the long-term. We have planted a seed and we are eager to see the results…the best is yet to come.”
There is a long list of areas of potential growth for the relationship, including clean energy and halal food. Port operator ports operator DP World is already looking for opportunities in the region.
“There are lots of ports that require advanced equipment and know-how [in Latin America],” Mahmood Al Bastaki, the company’s chief operating officer, told the magazine.
One of the main priorities is establishing better airline connections between the two countries, which could be happening soon.
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