EXPORTS fell for the third consecutive year in 2016, says a recent report by Panama’s Comptroller General.
The decline has meant an economic loss of 25%,over three years.
According to official figures, the economic value of Panamanian exports fell by 3.1% in 2014, by 14.9% in 2015 and fell by 8.5% in 2016.
In 2013, exports amounted to $843.7 million and in 2016 they were at just $636.1 million.
The figures provided by the Comptroller in 2016, the fall off was across the board: bananas (-7.4%), melon (-20.1%), pineapple (-34.9%), beef cattle (-24.4%).
Exports of shrimp (-2.2%), skins and leather (-44.9%) and oil products (-12%) .
On the other hand, exports of watermelon, increased by 10.7%, other sea products (up 39.4%), unrefined sugar (54.6%) and fishmeal and fish oil (10.3%)
Exports of coffee (49.7%) and clothing (1.3%) also showed positive results.
In recent declarations, Augusto Arosemena of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MICI), , accepted that there is a fall in the sector, but predicted that better times would come.
According to Arosemena, the banana zones in the provinces of Chiriquí and Bocas del Toro will benefit after the Cabinet Council approved a Law Contract that will allow a subsidiary of the transnational fruit company Del Monte to invest more than $100 million in Banana production and which is expected to generate approximately 3,100 direct jobs and consequent generation of 12,000 indirect jobs in commerce and services.