UAE picks Panama as Latin Amer­ica growth hub

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

Shaikh Ab­dul­lah ex­pressed the UAE's in­ter­est in co­op­er­a­tion with Panama in ar­eas of com­mon in­ter­est, such as bank­ing, lo­gis­tics, en­ergy, air­ports and in­fra­struc­ture.

The visit by Shaikh Ab­dul­lah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE For­eign Min­is­ter, to Panama ended with the cre­ation of a joint co­op­er­a­tion com­mit­tee on trade and in­vest­ment. The com­mit­tee will serve as "the le­gal base for launch­ing joint in­vest­ment projects, in­clud­ing the par­tic­i­pa­tion of Emi­rati com­pa­nies in pub­lic ten­ders of this govern­ment's five-year in­vest­ment plan, es­pe­cially in the ar­eas of en­ergy and ship­ping co­op­er­a­tion," said Panama's vice-pres­i­dent and for­eign min­is­ter Isabel de Saint Malo.Ar­eas of In­ter­est in­clude: Bank­ing, lo­gis­tics, en­ergy, air­ports and in­fra­struc­ture. Shaikh Ab­dul­lah ex­pressed the UAE's in­ter­est in co­op­er­a­tion with Panama in ar­eas of com­mon in­ter­est, such as bank­ing, lo­gis­tics, en­ergy, air­ports and in­fra­struc­ture.

In a joint Press con­fer­ence, Shaikh Ab­dul­lah said the UAE is not only in­ter­ested in study­ing ini­tia­tives to be car­ried out in Panama, but also in push­ing ahead with projects that would reach out to other mar­kets from this Cen­tral Amer­i­can coun­try. The new com­mit­tee "will pro­mote and co­or­di­nate pro­grammes on the political, eco­nomic, trade, cul­tural, ju­di­cial, se­cu­rity, so­cial, en­vi­ron­ment, tourism, tech­nol­ogy and hu­man­i­tar­ian aid fronts and in other ar­eas of in­ter­est" to the two coun­tries.

Shaikh Ab­dul­lah was vis­it­ing Panama as part of a Latin Amer­ica tour that also took him to Ar­gentina and Colom­bia and ended on Fri­day in Costa Rica. Prior to the sign­ing of the ac­cord cre­at­ing the com­mit­tee, the two min­is­ters held a pri­vate meet­ing in Panama's for­eign min­istry, be­fore pre­sid­ing over a meet­ing with their dele- gations. The UAE's de­ci­sion to open an em­bassy in Panama in 2017 was con­firmed dur­ing the meet­ings, while Panama will upgrade its con­sulate in the Gulf na­tion to an em­bassy.

In Novem­ber 2014, De Saint Malo vis­ited Abu Dhabi, where she was re­ceived by His High­ness Shaikh Mo­hammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Com­man­der of the UAE Armed Forces, lead­ing to a strength­en­ing of ties be­tween the two coun­tries.

That same year, ne­go­ti­a­tions be­gan on three bi­lat­eral agree­ments: the elim­i­na­tion of the visa re­quire­ment, in­vest­ment pro­tec­tion and avi­a­tion. An agree­ment has been reached to start a di­rect flight be­tween Panama City and Dubai. To be op­er­ated by Emi­rates, it will be­gin on March 31 and will be the long­est di­rect flight in the world, last­ing for nearly 18 hours, ac­cord­ing to the air­line. Panama will be the first Cen­tral Amer­i­can coun­try with a flight to Dubai.

Ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from Panama's for­eign min­istry, the air link be­tween the two coun­tries is im­por­tant be­cause "it opens the doors to in­nu­mer­able eco­nomic, trade and cul­tural op­por­tu­ni­ties and lays the foun­da­tion for the pos­si­ble es­tab­lish­ment of the head­quar­ters of multi­na­tional com­pa­nies." De Saint Malo said there are im­por­tant sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween Panama and the UAE, es­pe­cially in lo­gis­tics and the ship­ping busi­ness, in for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment and as coun­tries that pro­mote peace and sta­bil­ity. "With the open­ing of the two em­bassies, not only will th­ese projects quickly take shape, but it makes us gate­ways to Latin Amer­ica and the Middle East, re­spec­tively," she said. Shaikh Ab­dul­lah said the UAE's hub of­fers aid to South­east Asia and Africa, among other re­gions, and that its ex­pe­ri­ence could sup­port Panama's hub.

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