Great outlook for Panama

By Marijulia Pujol Lloyd

“Panama is open for business”, said the United States’ Ambassador to this country, John Feeley during the Panama American Chamber of Commerce (PANAMCHAM) forum called “Panama: expanding its opportunities.” The event took place on Sunday, June 26, at the Riu Hotel. The event was part of the inauguration of the Third set of Locks of the Panama Canal, which took place the same day.

PANAMCHAMDuring his introduction, Ambassador Feeley said that Panama has achieved its objective by completing the construction of the third set of locks, opening a wealth of opportunities, making the market in the Isthmus even
more attractive.

“The direct foreign investment (DFI) has increased by 4% over the last few months representing a total of $618 million and the International Monetary Fund predicted that Panama will have a growth of 6% by the end of 2016, making the country not only the envy of the region, but also the rest of the world. The third set of locks will have as profound an effect on international commerce as the Canal had in 1914, when it was inaugurated. ”

Ambassador Feeley added that the United States is looking forward to doing more business with Panama and becoming its number one partner in business.“The potential for success is immense and we want to be part of it,” concluded the diplomat.

John Feeley, Embajador de Estados Unidos en Panamá. John Feeley , Ambassador of the United States in Panama.

John Feeley , Ambassador of the United States in Panama.

PANAMCHAM president, Aristides Chiriatti, said: “the objective of the forum is to celebrate the Panama Canal Expansion and, at the same time, show Panama’s business potential, not only now, but in the near future.”

There were three important U.S. companies representatives: Juan Carlos Croston, Vice-President of Marketing and Corporate Affairs of Manzanillo International Terminal (MIT)); Jose Westin, District Manager of Caterpillar
and Javier Visuetti, Open Blue Government and Community Affairs manager.

During his intervention, Javier Visuetti said the expanded canal is going to expedite the development in the region’s economy, attracting new businesses to the country, such as Open Blue, one of biggest deep sea fish farm operators in Central America.

Aristides Chiriatti, Presidente de PANAMCHAM. Aristides Chiriatti, PANAMCHAM president.

Aristides Chiriatti, PANAMCHAM president.

He added that transparency is one of the key elements that are attracting companies to the Isthmus, for the simple reason that investors know that it is safe to invest here and that a scandal like the “Panama Papers” has not had an effect on the economy.

Juan Carlos Croston, from MIT explained that with the expanded Canal, new technologies have been implemented in the ports and Panamanian personnel have been trained to cover the neo-panamax demands.

Caterpillar´s district manager, John Westin, said that Sunday, June 26 is a historical day as “we witness the beginning of a new era with the Canal expansion, which has changed forever the shipping trade routes of the
world, putting Panama firmly on the world map.

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