Panama City, PANAMA – The third Chamber of Commerce Cayman-Panama trade mission got under way Tuesday evening with a Cayman Night in Panama cocktail party at the InterContinental Mirimar hotel in Panama City.
Chamber President James Tibbetts said the original goal of the first Cayman-Panama trade mission had been to open the door of opportunity between the two countries.
“I am pleased to report this evening that our original goals have been achieved as evidenced by the level of trade and cooperation that now exists between our two countries,” he said. “Since we started our visits three years ago, an estimated US$20 million worth of trade in goods has transpired. Shipping and cargo services, which were limited at the outset, are now improved and regular with two shipping companies, Seaboard Marine… and a new shipping firm Sea Freight, now operating regular shipping services.”
Mr. Tibbetts said the Cayman-Panama relationship had evolved beyond the sourcing and importation of goods from the Colon Free Trade Zone to international financial business being transacted between the two countries.
“In fact, there are representatives with us this evening from the first Panamanian mutual fund that will soon be registered in the Cayman Islands,” he said.
Cayman National, a major sponsor of the trade mission, established a representative office in Panama City last year. The company’s Senior Vice President Latin America Carlos Guzman said there had been an important development with that office.
“I am pleased to announce that the banking regulators in Panama have granted a Representative Licence to Cayman National Bank just last week,” he said. “The Cayman National representation office will be the platform to facilitate contact with existing Cayman National Latin America clients and provide business opportunities in emerging markets in the region. Furthermore, [it] will support the business community in Cayman to assist in sourcing alternative suppliers and to facilitate trade and investment between the two countries through banking and investment vehicles.”
Cayman Minister for Tourism, Environment, Investment and Commerce Charles Clifford said that since the first trade mission to Panama, many business-to-business relationships had developed.
“This demonstrates a maturing of our relationship between the two countries,” he said, noting that the trade coming from Panama had been great for Cayman consumers.
“Today we are here again building this relationship for economic reasons, but in a different sense, and I’m very proud of that fact.”
Chamber CEO Wil Pineau said it was good to see all the wonderful relationships that had been established over the past three years.
He invited Panamanians to come to Cayman to see what the country had to offer in terms of tourism and financial services.
The trade mission continues through Saturday. On Wednesday, Cayman delegates visited the EXPOCOMER Trade Show, the largest annual trade show in the region.
Today, some delegates will return to the trade show while others travel across Panama by train to the Colon Free Trade zone.