Varela proposes Panama as a Latin American platform for China

Panama will play a key role as China's platform for Latin America in sectors such as investment, transport, logistics and tourism, said today Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela.

Beijing, Nov 20 (EFE) .- Panama will play a key role as China's platform for Latin America in sectors such as investment, transport, logistics and tourism, the president said today. Panamanian, Juan Carlos Varela.

The country's central position in the Latin American and Caribbean region, plus the Canal and the fact that Panama is a financial and logistics hub, with legal security and political stability, "they are going to help us channel a lot of investment from China," Varela said at a press conference in which he closed the Beijing stage of the first official visit of a Panamanian president to this country.

Varela reviewed the main achievements of this trip and indicated his confidence that, despite the desire of Latin American countries By attracting investments and trade from China, Panama will attract a significant share of the Asian giant's economic activity in that region.

"There will undoubtedly be a lot of investment (China) in the region, but each country has to create favorable conditions "to attract it, he stressed, and said he expects not only Chinese investment in his country, but also in other countries of the zone with Panama as a base.

The Panamanian president also considered that the "strategic association" of his country with the United States "is totally compatible" with the "approach" to China and its use of the Panamanian platform to "increase its presence in the Latin American region".

Varela recalled that there are Chinese companies build a cruise port in Panama, as well as water projects and housing, or are established in the Colon Free Zone, with investments totaling 1,000 million dollars until the establishment of relationships diplomatic in June.

"I am sure that many Chinese companies will follow the same route," he insisted, trusting that "Panama will be the entry point for many Chinese companies in the Latin American region. "

In transport, Varela highlighted the importance of the" hub "of his country, with connections to almost 80 American cities, and that will be reinforced when, starting in March 2018 Air China will start the first Beijing-Panama direct flight with a stopover in Houston (USA), which "will boost tourism between the two countries."

In addition, the president and his delegation traveled this afternoon to Shanghai by high-speed train to see first-hand the Chinese system, the most extensive in the world, and try to apply it to the project of a fast line of passengers and merchandise until the neighboring Costa Rica, from where it could be extended later to the rest of Mesoamerica.

Varela said that he has been invited to participate in the tourism fair that will be held next May in the city of Hangzhou (east), and stressed that Panama is going to join the multi-destination strategy with countries with a tourism tradition such as Costa Rica or Cuba to attract the growing number of Chinese visitors abroad.

Linked to tourism and the displacement of business executives is the issue of visas, and Varela recalled that very shortly before After traveling to China, his government approved the easing of procedures so that Chinese citizens get a visa quickly, "in 24 or 48 hours."

He explained that Panama has already presented "an important project" of Chinese funding in those connectivity projects in the region and also of the Panamanian territory with the Asian giant, within the New Routes of The Silk launched by the communist regime.

Panama thus closed its way through Beijing in the first visit of a president of his country to China after the establishment of diplomatic relations last June. The decision is "permanent" and "not linked" with the evolution of economic exchanges.

In Shanghai, the Panamanian president will inaugurate the consulate, hold discussions for increase bilateral cooperation in maritime transport, participate in a business forum and hold the PanamaFest, a celebration to promote Chinese tourism in your country.