Week in Review – July 13

SHIP FLIGHT

Shipping companies may choose to go to neighboring ports, because of a lack of capacity, especially on Panama’s Pacific coast, Panama Canal Administrator, Jorge Quijano, said. “We have seen significant growth this year and larger ships are coming to the port terminals and are transiting the Panama Canal,” said Quijano.

BACK ‘N FORTH

So far this year, Panama’s Minister of Commerce, Augusto Arosemena, and Colombia’s María Claudia Lacouture, have held two presidential meetings that have not been enough to resolve the tariff conflict between the two nations. Arosemena indicated that Panama exchanges texts weekly with Colombia to propose a new commercial relationship.

MORE WATER

The increase in human water consumption is a factor that represents a challenge to maintain the operations of the Canal in an efficient way. Recently, the issue was that if the demand in the movement of cargo increases, a fourth set of locks would be necessary. However, the administrator of the interoceanic waterway, Jorge Quijano, stated that if no new water sources are found, it could not be built.

ETHICS

The indications of companies linked to Nicolás Corcione and Henri Mizrachi, both directors of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) in the investigation into the transactions carried out for the purchase of Grupo Panamá América (Epasa) newspaper group, allegedly with State funds, is classified as serious by various sectors consulted.

SILENT TRADE

Although there were no diplomatic relations between Panama and mainland China before June 12, 2017, trade with that Asian country was higher if compared with Taiwan. All this, despite the fact that Panama maintained diplomatic relations with Taiwan, including a free trade agreement. According to figures from the Comptroller’s Office, the main trade between Panama and Mainland China is associated with the Colón Free Zone (ZLC).

CHINA POSITIVE

Panama’s economy will benefit from the recent establishment of diplomatic relations with China, as new ties will deepen trade and financial movement, the country’s Commerce Ministry said. The establishment of diplomatic ties on June 13, “opened a new chapter also in economic and trade relations,” said Ministry spokesman, Sun Jiwen, at a press conference.

AUSSIE FIRST

It was Luis Miguel Hincapié, as chancellor in charge, in the absence of Isabel de St.Malo, who attended the first visit ever at the highest level of diplomatic representation of Australia. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, included Panama on a US tour that also took her to Cuba and Grenada, where she participated in a Caricom meeting and to Miami, after having already been in Argentina and Colombia.

OVERREACH

Panama’s authorities said they refuse to allow foreign vessels to monitor the country’s fishing activity, following an incident between local fishermen and an environmental NGO that is under investigation. The Panamanian Aquatic Resources Authority (ARAP) said in a statement that it is investigating an alleged clash between local fishermen and the US NGO Sea Shepherd in the Gulf of Chiriquí on the Panamanian Pacific Ocean.

LUXURY LIFE

The life of luxuries and excesses that the former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli lived during his self-exile in Miami, may weigh in the extradition trial being heard by Judge Edwin G. Torres, in charge of the hearing against him, says Eloy Alfaro, Panama’s former ambassador to the United States.

MADURO CITED

Panama. President Juan Carlos Varela blamed the Venezuelan regime of Nicolás Maduro for the violence recorded on the streets of that country. “When a president orders the Army to confront its people every day, that is not good for democracy,” NTN24 reported. In this way Varela, who in the past has referred to Maduro as “my friend”, changed his speech of support and distanced himself from the Venezuelan leader.

LESS MONEY

The total volume of remittances sent and received fell 3.8% in the first quarter of 2017, according to the Comptroller’s Office. Remittances totaled $296.8 million in the first three months of 2017, down from $308.6 million in the same period in 2016. The deterioration of this economic activity is due to the drop in shipments of money from Panama, which fell 6.8% in the first trimester. On the other hand, remittances received increased by 2.3% in the same period.

CASH CLASSES

The Panamanian Chamber of Capital Markets (Capamec) created an alliance with the Latin American University of Panama, a financial laboratory that will allow the training of students and citizens in general in matters related to the capital markets.

AIRCRAFT FLOW

To know the new challenges that the Panamanian air transport system will face in order to avoid congestion and delays, both in takeoff and landing of planes, and possible accidents, topics were discussed that were then reviewed by a group of aviation experts. Humberto Álvarez, director of the Center for Research in Mechanical Electrical and Industrial Innovation at the Technological University of Panama, said that through the conference and workshop, proposals were made for airspace that requires studies to optimize it, because an air freight logistics area is being built around the Tocumen International Airport, that will allow and require a smooth operation.

AIRPORT GROWS

The construction continues on Torre 2 (T2) at Tocumen International Airport, a project that, together with Torre 1 (T1) will increase passenger traffic by 90%. According to estimates, T2 is projected to begin operation gradually in mid-2018. Tocumen S.A., calculations. Indicate that construction has generated about 5,500 direct and indirect jobs, of which 98% are local labor. That is to say, that 5,390 Panamanians have been benefited with a source of employment.

NEW LINE DUE

Panama Metro president, Roberto Roy, said that by the end of this month the names of the companies that pre-qualified for the tender on Line 3 of the Metro, starting from Albrook and ending in Ciudad Futuro in West Panama, will be known. Roy said there is a lot of interest from Chinese companies and there is coordination with the Ministry of Public Works (MOP) as it is necessary to start the fourth bridge over the Canal before the line begins, whose construction would start in May, 2018.

BETTER BORDER

The governments of Costa Rica and Panama signed, after a bilateral meeting, an agreement for the creation of an integrated border control point. The announcement was made during the Summit of Heads of State of the Central American Integration System (SICA) in which Costa Rican President, Luis Guillermo Solis and his counterpart from Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, witnessed the agreement ceremony.

EYE VENEZUELA

President Juan Carlos Varela condemned the violence in Venezuela during his speech at the summit of leaders of the Central American Integration System (SICA) and asked for a declaration to be included in the final declaration – a message of hope for the people of that country. “We are concerned about the situation in Venezuela. We condemn violence and loss of human life. Nothing justifies such violence and disrespect for life,” said the president.

DISSIDENCE

Several basic factions of the opposition Democratic Change Party (CD) presented a declaration to the Board of Directors of the group to proceed to the “immediate expulsion” of 17 deputies who voted in favor of Yanibel Abrego to be president of the National Assembly (which she won).

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