By Rafiq Vayani
DUBAI: The Panamanian Minister of Private Investment H.E. Jose Alejandro Rojas has called on UAE companies to leverage Panama as a global gateway to expand their footprint in Latin America and tap into new growth opportunities in the region.
His comments came during a recent webinar organised by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s representative office in Panama, which was also attended by Hassan Al Hashemi, Vice President of International Relations, Dubai Chamber, and 58 public and private sector stakeholders from the UAE and abroad, representing a wide variety of economic sectors.
Presentations highlighted competitive advantages offered by Panama, such as its strategic geographic location, dollarized economy, investor-friendly environment, attractive free zones, advanced infrastructure and status as Latin America’s preferred hub for trade, finance and logistics.
Addressing participants during the webinar, H.E. Rojas noted that UAE businesses can benefit from Panama’s connectivity as the country sits at the crossroads of seven of the main fibre-optic submarine cables in the region. The minister shed light on Panama’s efforts to build a digital economy that can withstand challenges in the post-Covid-19 era, boost competitiveness and create new jobs. He noted that there is plenty of untapped business potential in digitalisation, describing it as a key area where UAE companies can make their mark.
For his part, Al Hashemi said the webinar came at a time when Dubai- Latin America economic ties are expanding rapidly within key sectors of mutual interest such as tourism, logistics, agriculture, food security, finance, smart services, innovation and start-ups.
“Latin America is a market of strategic importance to Dubai and Dubai Chamber, and we see Panama as an ideal economic partner that can help UAE companies expand their footprint across Latin America. At the same time, Dubai has the expertise and investment needed to fill markets gaps in Panama and support its economic ambitions,” said Al Hashemi.
“The key to unlocking untapped potential in Latin America lies with Panama, which is not only one of the fastest growing economies in the region, but a preferred gateway and trade hub offering accessing to growth markets across the region,” added Al Hashemi.
Through its representative office in Panama, Dubai Chamber identifies high-potential business opportunities in Latin America and assists UAE companies that are keen on entering the region. The office also focuses its efforts on building relations with different business communities and attracting Latin American companies to the Dubai market.
Since Dubai Chamber opened its Panama office in 2018, Dubai- Panama trade has increased steadily. Bilateral non-oil trade increased 10% over the 2017-2019 period to reach $46 million (AED 171 million) last year.