The upcoming introduction of the US-Panama Free Trade agreement has increased speculation that Walmart has its eyes on the Panamanian market.
While some consumers may welcome the prospect, it’s not news that will bring joy to Panama’s larger supermarket operations unless one of them is subject to a beneficial takeover bid.
It has long been rumored that Super 99, owned by President Ricardo Martinelli is first in line.
The news that Deputy Minister of International Trade Negotiations, Diana Salazar has said: "There is a letter attached to theFTA saying that companies complying with the requirements may operate in the country" has reignited speculation that the world's bigest retail chainis Panama bound.
Companies that currently dominate the segment of the market that could be targeted by Walmart are: El Rey, El Machetazo, Xtra, and Price Smart.
In Central America, the Walmart chain has a presence in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.”