Panama and China begin negotiations
Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela announced that the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Panama and the Republic of China will begin negotiations in November of this year. President Varela expects to sign 15 to 20 agreements with Chinese President Xi Jinping when he visits China in November to formally launch discussions. Varela says representatives of different business sectors will accompany him on the trip and will begin discussing a wide range of ways the two countries can better cooperate.
“We are already negotiating (the FTA) we expect that on our next visit we will sign an intention to negotiate the free trade agreement,” Varela said. “We are very optimistic of this trip since a great Chinese interest has been raised by this diplomatic relation with Panama. President Varela is hoping that China will help finance more energy and infrastructure projects. Among other deals, China will be working with Panama on new hydroelectric projects in the future, Panamanian Finance Minister Augusto Arosemena told Reuters.
Panama is also working to bring direct flights from China, which should have a direct impact on both tourism and the property market. Wealthy Chinese have been active investors in real estate around the world.
In addition to an embassy in Beijing, Varela said Panama will be opening a consulate in Shanghai and has taken steps to open a consulate in Guangzhou, as well.