Prime Minister's Office of the Republic of Panama

12/07/2017 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/07/2017 20:32

Panama and China advance on feasibility studies for the rail system and the signing of a FTA

The People's Republic of China has confirmed today that it will finance the feasibility study for a freight train and passengers linking the Panamanian capital with the border with Costa Rica, following an agreement signed between the Chinese Minister of Commerce of China, Zhong Shan and the Minister of Foreign Relations in charge, Luis Miguel Hincapié, in a ceremony where the President of the Republic of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, participated as a witness of honor.

Through the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, will be financed the analysis on the viability, benefits, main technical parameters, estimated investment, risk factors, and other factors of a rail system that connects the provinces of Panama and Chiriquí.

'We seek to take advantage of the experience and technological development of Chinese companies in rail transport systems', said the Minister of Foreign Affairs in charge, Luis Miguel Hincapié, adding that the project 'is part of the initiative of the Strip and the Route, which promotes global cooperation and supports the development of the countries that are part of it'.

In addition, Panama and China agreed to initiate in February the feasibility study of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), in a working table led by the Ministers of Commerce of both countries, in Beijing, with the goal of finalizing it in the first half of the year 2018.

'This way, in the second semester of 2018, we could begin the negotiation of the Free Trade Agreement', said Minister of Commerce Augusto Arosemena.

In commercial matters, it is also expected to formally launch the Joint Trade and Investment Commission in the middle of next year, with the objective of promoting cooperation in economic, commercial and investment matters. In this regard, the ministers discussed the promotion of special economic zones and reiterated the invitation to Chinese companies to benefit from the Multinational Companies Headquarters law and the advantages of our logistics platform and connectivity for regional and global operations. Also the importance of making the certification of Panamanian products to enter the Chinese market as soon as possible was discussed.

In educational matter, Panama and China agreed, through an exchange of notes, the amount of the financing of the not refundable cooperation for projects of strengthening and development of the human resource. With this, the Government of the People's Republic of China will offer scholarships, seminars and other educational opportunities for Panamanians to explore new opportunities in the professional field and the country maximizes the qualification of the local workforce, taking advantage of China's experience and high standards in educational matter.

Along with President Varela, , were present the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Augusto Arosemena, the Minister of Canal Affairs, Roberto Roy, the Chancellor in Charge, Luis Miguel Hincapié, and the Vice Minister of Multilateral Affairs and Cooperation, María Luisa Navarro.