The Panama Canal-Cocoli Locks, the expanded Panama Canal, marked a milestone for the waterway that continues to redefine world trade routes and exceed expectations. — Photo courtesy of the embassy
On behalf of the government of the Republic of Panama, Ambassador Servio S Samudio B extends his warmest congratulations to all Panamanian citizens living in Việt Nam, and greetings to the noble and friendly people of Việt Nam, on the occasion of the 116th Anniversary of Independence.
According to new reports from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, Panama has been one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2019, and the second most competitive in Latin America and the Caribbean, with estimated growth of 4.5 per cent, which is forecast to rise in 2020 to 4.6 per cent. This growth is accompanied by low inflation (0.2 per cent), low levels of unemployment (5.2 per cent) and a good fiscal performance.
This economic growth has in part been driven by the expanded Panama Canal, which was opened on June 26, 2016. Since then, more than 6,000 vessels have passed through the Neo Panamax and its new locks. Other important components of growth include sectors such as logistics, tourism, telecommunications, construction (especially large infrastructure projects, third line of the metro, fourth bridge over the canal), and financial intermediation.
With regards to attracting foreign companies, in the past 12 years, more than 150 multinational companies like Procter & Gamble, Dell, 3M and Caterpillar have established their regional headquarters in Panama (Panama Pacifico), as well as international organisations such as the United Nations Regional Headquarters and the Humanitarian Regional Hub, which are designed to assist countries in the region in the event of a natural disaster.
Another of the main points of economic growth is the Colon Free Zone, the latest free zone in the Western Hemisphere. In this regard, Việt Nam was the largest sixth importer by value of merchandise in 2018, and this will reflect as a window for Vietnamese products to use Panama to re-export to the Latin America region.
In this regard and according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations, these are some of the elements and incentives that make and explain why Panama is currently leading FDI attraction in Latin America. According to the IMF’s growth forecast, Panama will grow on average 5 per cent until 2021. In the same period, those estimates indicate that Latin America will grow 1.8 per cent.
Next year, Panama and Việt Nam will celebrate 45 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations. To celebrate, we will welcome Vietnamese people to our beautiful country, heritage and natural beauty. We want to offer examples of how Vietnamese people can learn more about our country.
Another important milestone in our relations is the signing of a visa free agreement in June to promote exchanges, tourism, commerce and trade.
On a maritime level, this year, our country is celebrating 102 years since the establishment of the Panama’s Ship Registry, and 22 years since we opened our Consulate General in HCM City. In this connection, we will join hands with this city together with Hà Nội to celebrate the establishment of diplomatic relations. All this will strengthen our close relations.
Panama will continue to co-operate with Việt Nam with the aim of strengthening our common ties and advance our shared values, resolving conflicts in a peaceful way, and ensuring human rights and an open trading system. — VNS