PANAMA’S Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture (CCIAP) has given a qualified endorsement to the recent signing of 19 agreements with China.
The chamber describes the signing as positive but added that "Panama must introduce adjustments
important to achieve the agreed benefits. "This, since it deals with a terrain in which one must work with more responsibility than with simple enthusiastic optimism, "
The approach of the business body arises because in the past Panama has obtained very limited benefits from similar treaties in regard to the export of goods, and productive sectors such as agriculture and livestock and industrial". have been marginalized during various administrations,
The Chamber said Sunday, Nov 26, that, as long as this prevails, "our export offer will not generate the resources that can be expected from this opportunity. "
"In addition, there are the demands that China imposes on its imports, which we must satisfy on time, "it adds According to the CCIAP, the partnership with China "should enhance our competitive advantages if we put in a vision of a committed State in the long term -not five-year- with the development of the country. For this, it is necessary to include the preparation of our human resources through modern models that exceed obsolete canons.
"In any case, our biggest challenge in reaching the first world is the ability to compete with efficiency and quality, especially when in the region other actors look for opportunities like these ... it will require extraordinary efforts.
This month, Panama and the People's Republic of China signed agreements related to trade, agriculture, tourism and the maritime sector, as part of a tour that President Juan Carlos Varela made from Nov. 14 -22
An agreement requiring that Panama works with more responsibility, efficiency, or quality, isn't likely to turn out well. How can that be promised to other countries, when nothing inside this country functions? Neither government agencies nor their employees, work responsibly. Permits, inspections, and licenses, are nearly impossible to obtain, especially without resorting to 'special incentives', it's extremely difficult to determine a tax bill or pay it, and law is nothing less than capricious. Because everything changes after every election, there is no continuity or predictability, and it is impossible for Panama to plan anything long term. How does Panama gain a competitive advantage with an agreement requiring import demands? I recently shopped for a quart of whipping cream. There were 2 choices, both imports, and both $10! There was not a domestic product on the shelf. Local dairies have been suffering and hampered from competing at all. Who has been helped by trade agreements already in place? What are the benefits expected from the new ones? What are the penalties if Panama does not comply? I have no confidence that pockets in very specific sectors of the economy are not being heavily padded, while consumers and all other producers will not be helped, and possibly further damaged.