In the News from Panama

Panama Hosts Major China Trade Event

Top trade representatives and businesses from around the region are in Panama this week for the 13th China-Latin America and the Caribbean Business Summit, which is described as one of the most important business events of the year.

The event is taking over the Atlapa Convention Center with more than 2,000 executives and diplomats expected to attend. About 1,000 companies are participating in the three-day event, including 600 from Latin America and 400 from China, according to Xinhua, the Chinese news service.

The event highlights the profound impact China is having on Panama’s economy.

“In just a decade, trade volume between China and Latin America has grown more than 20-fold, through hundreds of signed agreements and scores of projects underway in key areas for the region’s development, such as infrastructure, energy and transport,” Panama’s Minister of Commerce and Industries Ramon Martinez said during the opening ceremony.

The summit will help Panama access to new markets and consolidate Panama as the gateway for entrepreneurs in the region, according to Gabriel Barletta. “China-LAC is a promotion mechanism and a platform that seeks greater economic cooperation, focused on boosting trade and investment,” he said.

After 13 years, the event has grown into an important tool for generating new business opportunities, building exports and increasing foreign investment, Veronica Zavala, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) representative for Central America, told Xinhua.

“Businesses are increasingly global, but they are built on contacts between people at forums such as this,” Zavala said. “More and better investment benefits both China and Latin America and the Caribbean.”

The summit could generate as much as $190 million in business deals, according to media reports.

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