Panama has enormous potential to be a hub or production center so that Israeli companies can from here do business with Central America, the Caribbean and all of Latin America, said Israel’s ambassador to this country, Reda Mansour.
The diplomat said that they are waiting, by the National Assembly, for the ratification of the free trade agreement (FTA) that Panama agreed with Israel and, once it enters into force, the commercial exchange between the two is projected to rise nations, which is currently very low.
Trade relations between the two countries are quite limited at the moment. In 2017, it barely exceeded $ 10 million and $ 24 million of investments were achieved, according to official reports.
For Ambassador Mansour, there are many business opportunities in Panama; and when you have the trade agreement, it will attract the attention of investors from both countries, since economic relations will be greatly facilitated.
Israeli companies are always looking for new places to be able to go out into the world, because Israel is a small country and needs platforms outside its borders to publicize its production and knowledge, said the ambassador.
The diplomat said that he hopes that the FTA, which was signed on May 17, 2018, will be ratified by the deputies in the next two weeks and that it will begin to be implemented in December, which will allow to open a direct line of business between both countries.
For the moment, Ambassador Mansour preferred not to specify how much trade between the two nations would rise, mainly because in terms of technology it is a variant segment without limits.
In addition, he considered that the agricultural cooperation that Israel provides to Panama is already working, only better conditions are needed to grow in this aspect and the treaty will help accelerate this development.
“I think that at the innovation level we can also develop projects together”,
JURY ROSMERPRESIDENT OF APEX
Currently, Israel offers Panama technical collaboration, mainly in agricultural matters, in technology, water system and security issues.
Now with the trade agreement, Israel expects Panama to become the gateway to bring its products and knowledge throughout Latin America, as it has always been focused on the markets of Europe and North America.
Among the advantages and incentives offered by the Canaanite isthmus, the unique connectivity and robust supply of logistics services, useful for Israeli companies as a platform in the expansion of its presence throughout the Latin American region, stand out.
The president of the Panamanian Association of Exporters (Apex), Rosmer Jurado, said that the aforementioned treaty is a great opportunity for Panama, since Israel is a country of advanced technology, innovation and water management that can be take advantage and exploit in the isthmus.
“I think that Panama has an ally since long before the State of Israel was independent and I think that has helped us to have a good collaboration,” Jury said.
The trade agreement includes immediate access to the Israeli market for agricultural products such as frozen beef and hamburgers, palm oil, cassava, rum and vinegar. From seafood such as sole, bonito, cobia, fresh tilapia, and lobster, among others; as well as industrial products such as soap powder and paste, cement and aluminum profiles.
The FTA with Israel also includes quotas for the export to that country of products such as pineapple, papaya, fresh or chilled beef. While products such as watermelon, banana, yam, shrimp and tuna will receive tariff reductions, according to information from the Ministry of Commerce and Industries (ICIM).
Panama maintained its exclusions in sensitive products such as beef, pork, poultry, sausages, coffee, dairy products, oils, sugar, pasta and tomato sauce, among others, said at the time the Minister of Commerce and Industries , Ramón Martínez.