Published On: 17/04/2019

• Visit aimed to familiarise UAE delegates with regional trade and investment opportunities that can be accessed through Panama

• H.E. Al Ghurair: Delegation visit was an important step in that enhanced mutual understanding and strengthened Dubai’s ties with Latin America

Dubai, UAE: A delegation of 70 businessmen from the UAE led by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Dubai Chamber) recently concluded a trade mission to Panama which aimed to explore business opportunities emerging in Latin America that can be accessed through the regional trade hub.

The visiting delegation met with key stakeholders from the Panama’s public and private sectors, including H.E. Juan Carlos Varela, President of Panama; H.E. Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado, Vice President and Foreign Minister of Panama; HE Néstor Gonzalez, Minister of Industries and Commerce, Panama; and other top government officials and businessmen from the country on the sidelines of the 3rd Global Business Forum (GBF) on Latin America in Panama City which coincided with the week-long trade mission.

During a private meeting, H.E. Varela highlighted the key areas of progress where Panama and the UAE have aligned their efforts, such as easing of visa restrictions, the opening of embassies and the hosting of GBF Latin America 2019 in Panama which he described as important developments that will pave the way for continued business exchange and commerce between the two countries.

H.E. Varela stressed the importance of leveraging Panama’s strategic position to boost connectivity between the Latin America and GCC regions, and pointed out the attractive advantages that his country can offer UAE companies, such as its advanced logistics sector, sound financial infrastructure and business-friendly environment. He called on government and business entities in Panama to participate in Expo 2020 Dubai which he described as an ideal opportunity to enhance the country’s cooperation with the UAE and expand its reach in the Middle East.

For his part, H.E. Majid Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chamber, explained that the Chamber had organised the trade mission to Panama and GBF Latin America 2019 with the intention of exploring new avenues of cooperation between the GCC and Latin America, which can be accessed via the strategic hubs of Panama and Dubai.

Dubai Chamber’s Chairman noted that there is plenty of scope to expand Dubai’s cooperation with Panama in key sectors such as logistics, infrastructure, finance, tourism, renewable energy, manufacturing and innovation-focused industries.

“Panama is an ideal trading partner to Dubai as the country shares many synergies with the emirate. With its strategic geographic location and excellent logistics facilities, Dubai can serve as a gateway for Panamanian and other Latin American businesses that want to access a market of over 2 billion consumers across the GCC, Africa, and Asia,” said H.E. Al Ghurair.

For her part, H.E. de Saint Malo de Alvarado noted that future governments in Panama have the resources to establish infrastructure projects such as new port facilities near the Panama Canal which are creating new opportunities for foreign companies and investors and enhancing the country’s competitiveness.

UAE delegates participated in site visits to the expanded Panama Canal, City of Knowledge and the Colón Free Trade Zone, the largest free port in the America and the world’s second largest free trade zone. During the visits, the delegates learned about new investments and technologies that are being allocated and adopted to improve ease of doing business in Panama and expand the country’s services sectors.

The visiting delegation was led by H.E. Majid Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chamber and joined by H.E. Eng. Mohammed Ahmed Bin Abdul Aziz Al Shehhi, Undersecretary for Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Economy of the UAE; H.E. Eduardo Fonseca Ward, Ambassador of the Republic of Panama to the UAE; H.E. Hisham Abdulla Al Shirawi, 2nd Vice Chairman – Dubai Chamber; H.E. Hamad Buamim, President & CEO of Dubai Chamber; H.E. Essa Abdullah Al Ghurair, Chairman – Essa Al Ghurair Investment LLC; HE Abdul Hamied, SeddiqiVice Chairman, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons LLC; Eng. Mahmood Al Bastaki, Chairman of Dubai Trade; Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), UAE; and Dr. Juma Almatrooshi, Deputy CEO – Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority, along with other representatives from the UAE’s diplomatic and business communities.