Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Panama hopes for big economic return from new ties to China

Panama hopes for big economic return from new ties to China

Panama's business community cheered the Central American country's decision to establish full diplomatic ties with China and ditch Taiwan, hoping to deepen links with a key customer of the nation's shipping canal.

There was broad support for the decision to throw his lot in with China, whose growing global ambitions contrast with U.S. President Donald Trump's isolationist rhetoric.

"I'm sure it wasn't an easy decision, given the long-term links we've had with Taiwan, but nonetheless, (China) is a global superpower, the world's No. 2 economy, the second biggest user of the canal - and so we think this is a positive development that will result in more business and investment in Panama," said Inocencio Galindo, president of Panama's Trade, Industry and Agriculture chamber.

The diplomatic U-turn comes as China attempts to position itself as a defender of free trade in the face of the "America First" policy of Trump, who was elected in November 2016. Chinese officials also celebrated the news.

Wang Weihua, the permanent representative in the Office of China-Panama Trade Development and Beijing's top representative in the country, said various attempts had been made over the years without success to establish formal ties.

China is interested in Panama for its strategic location, and as a trade and logistics hub, he added.

"China has made a big bet on Latin America, where it has strategic investments, and Panama, which didn't have diplomatic relations, was losing out on those advantages," he said in an interview. "Now Panama will be able to enjoy what our country can offer it in various sectors."

Almost a fifth of the cargo crossing the isthmus last year went to or from China, which has been taking an increasing interest in the Panama Canal.

In March, the canal's administrator, Jorge Quijano, said Chinese state firms were considering developing land around the waterway, which was recently expanded. A spokesman for the canal said Quijano would address soon the implications of the diplomatic change for commerce.

According to Panamanian statistics, total trade between Panama and China was worth $1.1 billion in 2016 - roughly 12 times the value of the nation's commerce with Taiwan. Chinese exports accounted for the vast majority of it.

Octavio Vallarino, a partner of Desarrollos Bahia, a local real estate firm, said he hoped direct flights would soon be established between the two countries, and that the commercial real estate market would be bolstered by arriving Chinese firms.


Sara Pardo, president of Panama's hotel association, said the accord could help make travel between the two countries easier. "This is definitely going to strengthen the economy," she said.

Panama Economy News - misancosa@gmail.com

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Punta Pacifica Realty Inks Deal to Market New Boquete Project

Punta Pacifica Realty Inks Deal to Market New Boquete Project

Punta Pacifica Realty (PPR), the leading sales, rental and property management company in Panama City, has reached an agreement to serve as exclusive sales and marketing agent for a new luxury condominium project outside Boquete, the popular expat community in the lush mountains of northern Panama.

The Estrella condominiums are in development on the 17th hole of the existing Lucero Golf and Country Club, the master-planned active lifestyle community built around an 18-hole championship-level golf course designed by J. Michael Poellot. Owners of the Estrella condominiums will have full access to Lucero’s amenities, including professional-level clay tennis courts, 10 km of hiking trails and the gourmet Seasons restaurant.

“Estrella brings a new level of luxury and quality to Boquete,” said Duncan McGowan, president of Punta Pacifica Realty and a consultant on the Estrella development. “This is not your typical project.”... Read More (Complete Article).