Panama says China increases its presence in the country to expand in the region

China will increase its presence in Panama to expand into Latin America, said Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela, after his historic meeting in the Asian country with his counterpart Xi Jinping.

“There will be many more companies and multinationals using Panama to expand their presence in Latin America,” Varela told a press conference to present the achievements of his recent trip to China.

Panama says China increases its presence in the country to expand in the region

Panama says China increases its presence in the country to expand in the region.

On that tour, Varela was received by the Chinese president and both governments signed 19 agreements on trade, investment, migration, tourism, energy and logistics, among others.

“Without a doubt, this will mark a before and an after from this historic visit,” added Varela. The Panamanian government believes that with a dollarized economy, an interoceanic canal and a financial system with a hundred banks, Panama could become the entrance of multiple Chinese companies to the region.

Currently, there are 30 Chinese companies operating in the country, such as in telecommunications, shipping, banking and construction. Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, has acknowledged on several occasions that his country is looking for a “connection” in Panama to expand its commercial and diplomatic presence in a continent where the United States has not had a counterweight.

Before breaking with Taiwan in June to ally with Beijing, Panama already had China’s commercial office in its territory. This country is the second user of the Panama Canal and the first to supply all of Latin America from Panama’s Colón Free Zone (Caribbean).

In addition, several Chinese companies began to participate in various public tenders. Now, “with the establishment of diplomatic relations this will be enhanced in a very important way,” said Varela.

The government of Panama also expects multi-million dollar investments for large infrastructure projects, such as ports, power plants, the fourth bridge over the Panama Canal, a train line to the border with Costa Rica and a third Metro line in the capital.

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