Panamanian Foreign Minister's visit to Viet Nam: Discovering space to promote economic cooperation

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son, Panamanian Foreign Minister Érika Mouynes pays an official visit to Viet Nam from April 5-6. On this occasion, Panamanian Ambassador to Viet Nam Eligio Alberto Salas De Leon shared the significance of the visit and the potential of bilateral cooperations.
Panamanian Foreign Minister's visit to Viet Nam: Discovering space to promote economic cooperation
Panama's Ambassdor to Viet Nam Eligio Alberto Salas De Leon. (Photo: Nguyen Hong)

Viet Nam is the first destination in the trip of Panamanian Foreign Minister Erika Mouynes to Southeast Asian nations, could you please share us the meanings and main focus of the visit?

The purpose of Minister Mouynes visit to Viet Nam is to give a boost to the bilateral relationship and coordinate the formal consultation mechanisms between the two countries.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a negative effect on both our economies and we will need to cooperate to increase the level of trade and investment in order to put our countries economies back on track. Is in this context that we must ponder the importance of this visit of Minister Mouynes.

It is important to highlight that this visit is the first by a Latin American Foreign Minister after the lifting of travel requirements by Viet Nam.

With the advantage of being the largest transit hub in Central America with the Colon Free Trade Zone, Panama can play the role of a gateway to help Viet Nam promote trade into Latin American countries. What's your opinion on this?

There are many ways in which Viet Nam may benefit from the platform Panama provides.

Viet Nam companies may establish themselves in Panama and take advantage of our privileged geographical position in the heart of the Americas in order to increase exports. At the same time, Vietnamese investors could use Panama as a base of operations for foreign investment in the region.

Panama’s maritime hub, which includes the Canal and several container ports as well as a railroad communicating both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, makes it an ideal place to implement a strategy to bring Vietnamese products into the region.

As I know, economic cooperation is a focus of the visit. Could you highlight potential areas in which businesses of the two sides can cooperate in the near future?

There is a big margin for improvement in the bilateral commercial exchange between both our countries. Specifically, we could expand trade in cement and steel going from Viet Nam to Panama.

Panama could benefit from Viet Nam opening to Panamanian precious woods, beef and pork exports as well as financial services. Both our countries could help each other promote our tourism industries taking into account that we have signed a visa exemption agreement.

What are your advices to Vietnamese businesses that want to penetrate into the Panama market?

The Panama embassy in Viet Nam recently hosted jointly with Vietrade a seminar on how to do business in Panama with a conference presented by the head of ProPanama, Panama’s investment agency and the Panamanian Chamber of Commerce which annually hosts a number of exhibitions and conferences in Panama.

On request we can make available a copy of this presentation and you can approach our embassy in order to facilitate contacts with Panamanian authorities and supply any further information required.

Thank you!

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