Panama seeks FTA with Caribbean countries

Panama proposed last Saturday to become an observer of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) and start conversations with her to reach a free trade agreement and to sign a memorandum of understanding for the creation of a Regional Security Center.

“My administration firmly believes that the time has come to relaunch the relations between Panama and the countries of Caricom,” said the weekend the president of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela.

During the final day of meetings Caricom summit held these days in Barbados, Varela explained that it will “come up with new and better levels of understanding and cooperation to address the challenges and improve the quality of life of our citizens.”

The Panamanian leader, the only foreign head of state who addressed the Caricom counterparts at the summit, said the Caribbean and Panama had become “more than strategic partners and allies.”

He recalled that thousands of citizens of the Caribbean participated in the construction of the Panama Canal and since then is considered “who are brothers” because they share “a historical and cultural heritage full of customs, traditions, dances and other expressions that unite us.”

“In a global and hemispheric level, the main challenge we face is the uncertainty arising from illegal activities of criminal organizations that recruit our youth,” he said.

“These organizations operate under an informal scheme of Government have the ability to organize resources and make decisions without having to comply with the laws and rules of democratic government,” he said during his speech.

In his opinion, it is up to the governments of the region “look for new and better ways to stay connected, communicated and coordinated if we defeat these networks.”

In this regard, he recalled that Panama proposed the creation of a Regional Security Center comprises the countries of the System of Central American Integration (SICA) and, although it had been approved by the agency in 2011, “implementation has not been easy “.

He acknowledged that in the role that Panama has acquired as a “hub” logistics and transport, “We can not wait any longer to advance” in this case, so expressed interest in signing a memorandum of understanding with CARICOM to promote creation .

Source: Efe Panama

Ernesto Chong de León, Ernesto Emilio Chong Coronado