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Friday, February 22 2019 @ 06:40 AM UTC

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GOP shift is seen on trade

Foreign Direct Investment By Steven R. Weisman for the International Herald Tribune - WASHINGTON: When the Democrats swept to victory last fall, after a campaign fueled partly by attacks on President George W. Bush's trade policies, trade deals promoted by the administration seemed doomed in the new Congress. But that was then. In the last week, the administration and its Republican allies on Capitol Hill have signaled a new willingness to work with Democrats to try to secure their support for three pending trade deals — with Panama, Peru and Colombia. The focus of their talks has been guarantees for the rights of workers in countries with which the United States has negotiated trade accords, including a ban on child labor and forced labor. "There's no question that there's been a change on the Republican side," Representative Charles B. Rangel, the New York Democrat who is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said Monday. "They refused to talk about these things before, and now they're talking."
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Cuban Traders to Panama Fair

Foreign Direct Investment From ahora.cu - About 70 Cuban businesspeople are due to travel to Panama on Monday to attend the international multi-sector trade fair Expocomer 2007, slated for March 7-10 in that Central American nation. Cuba s Chamber of Commerce (CCC) president Raul Becerra Egaña told Prensa Latina that the island s products will be promoted in this exhibition. Businesspeople from over 30 countries are expected to take part in this show, organized by Panama s Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, in which Cuba is due to exhibit an extensive spectrum of its main products and commercial achievements. The island’s delegation will also participate in two important events in the framework of the fair: a forum of the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce and a bid for works in the Panama Canal Zone. Becerra told that Cuba will also be present in the Fair of Cochabamba, Bolivia in April, another on agriculture in Colombia, and attend an annual meeting of the Caribbean Council of Industry and Commerce in Trinidad and Tobago in May. The aim of the CCC is to satisfy the extensive demand of services and develop a more active trade negotiation to favor its members. (Taken from Prensa Latina)
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Chinese Ownership of Mexican Port Causing Worry

Foreign Direct Investment By Nancy Conroy - On Mexidata.info - Chinese control of worldwide port facilities is an issue that should be reexamined in light of recent concerns about rising Chinese influence around the globe. The Chinese company Hutchison Whampoa, owned by Chinese billionaire Li Ka Shing, controls 35 major ports in the world, including the four most important ports in Mexico. Hutchison is about to build a brand new port at Punta Colonet, a Baja California cove located just two hours south of the US border. In the event of a conflict with China, a Chinese built and controlled port so close to the US could potentially function as a staging area for hostile activities. Also, the US should keep an eye on Huchison’s remarkably friendly relationship with the Mexican government. Hutchison Ports Holding, part of the Hutchison Whampoa group, runs 35 ports including the Bahamas, Buenos Aires, and two in the Panama Canal. And again, it is owned by Li Ka Shing, China’s most influential billionaire who is known as “The Superman of the Orient.” In 2003 Forbes magazine ranked him fifth among the world's ten “most powerful” billionaires, behind Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Silvio Berlusconi and Rupert Murdoch. (more...)
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Cuba pursuing possible trade agreement with Panama

Foreign Direct Investment The Associated Press PANAMA CITY, Panama: Cuba has floated a proposal to boost trade with Panama by reducing tariffs on a range of goods, Cuba's foreign minister said during a visit to the Central American nation. Speaking at a news conference Friday, Felipe Perez Roque said Havana had presented a list of goods it would like to include in such an agreement to "create conditions to increase trade." Panamanian Foreign Minister Samuel Lewis Navarro did not comment specifically on the proposal, but said, "We have identified other areas of cooperation which we can explore in the future, like the topic of trade." Currently trade between the two countries amounts to only about US$50 million (€38 million). Panama exports mostly raw materials and manufactured goods to the island nation, while Cuba ships Panama tobacco, rum, cement and pharmaceuticals. Perez Roque did not say when the two countries might begin talks on an agreement. Panama is already part of the Central America Free Trade Agreement with the United States. Earlier Friday, representatives of Cuba and Panama also signed cooperation agreements on education and law enforcement.
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Investments of US$1.5bn to double port capacity - Panama

Foreign Direct Investment By Michael Ford for Business News Americas - Investments of over US$1.50bn in Panama's ports over the next eight years will more than double the country's port capacity, the ministry of commerce (Mici) announced in a statement. Such investments include over US$200mn set aside for expansions to the northern Atlantic port of Balboa by the Panama Ports Company, a subsidiary of Hong Kong's Hutchison Port Holdings, Mici spokesperson Javier Castillo told BNamericas. The three phases of Balboa's expansion include the purchasing of new cranes, extending its deepwater shoreline from 350m to 1,500m, expansion of its container storage space from 8.4ha to 50ha, and the addition of nine post-Panamax cranes, bringing the port's total to 12, according to the Hutchison website. Apart from the US$1.50bn, Panama will also receive investment from Singapore port operator PSA to build a new container terminal at Rodman port, said Castillo. Mici announced on February 12 PSA's intention to invest in the port, and the company will make their own announcement, which will include project investment and other details, in the next few days, Castillo said. To build the new terminal, PSA must reach an agreement with private port operator Pimsa, which is currently operating the port's marine industrial park, according to previous reports. Eventual Rodman port operations will not interfere with national port authority AMP's US$600mn project to develop a new container port on 300ha in the Farfán area, also on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal.
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Panama presents real potential for trade

Foreign Direct Investment By Wil Pineau - Chief Executive of Chamber of Commerce (Cayman Islands, Cayman Net News) - Ever since the first fact finding mission in January 2006, Panama and in particular the Free Zone in Colon, has looked like an attractive alternative to Miami for Cayman to buy goods. From the beginning, the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce has said that the motivation behind the visits was to diversify the country’s dependence on Miami for products and materials. In September 2004, it was apparent in the wake of Hurricane Ivan that we were too dependent on Florida for the materials we needed. And during 2005 when that state faced its own post hurricane reconstruction, the Cayman Islands found itself facing severe shortages. Speaking about the forthcoming mission at the start of this year President of the Chamber of Commerce, Angelyn Hernandez, said the next visit would emphasise the need to increase trade. “We opened the door with Panama last year and we want to build upon the success of the first trade mission,” she said. “The opportunities for increasing trade between our countries are significant. I am optimistic that much more business can be developed, which will open another port of trade.” (more)
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Panama International Merchandise Mart S.A. Creates Latin America's First Merchandise Mart

Foreign Direct Investment COLON CITY, Panama, Feb. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Yet unseen in Latin America, the Panama International Merchandise Mart (PIMM) is under development near the Colon Free Zone as the region's first Wholesale Merchandise Mart. The Mart offers a unique wholesale concept because most Latin American and Caribbean buyers cannot enter the United States due to visa restrictions. Thanks to the Panama International Merchandise Mart, Latin American buyers will be able to visit our mart and place orders, announced company founder Reynald Henry Katz. Panama International Merchandise Mart S.A. will be built on 92 acres. The project's first phase will cost $50 million, and the entire project will reach $1 billion by 2015. The PIMM will complement the Colon Free Zone logistic operation because merchandise sold there will be shipped either from the Colon Free Zone or from manufacturer's plants to their final destination. Trade at the Colon Free Zone reached $14.8 billion in 2006, a 17.7 % increase compared to the prior year. With plenty of warehouse space available but with show room space availability being at its maximum capacity and some 2,500 companies waiting to operate at the Colon Free Zone, PIMM is poised to fill the gap and become the best alternative for Latin American buyers. PIMM is a project of national economic interest, said Katz. (more)
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Chamber’s Panama Trade Mission gets major sponsor

Foreign Direct Investment (Cayman Net News.com) Seaboard Marine pledges support to the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce’s Panama Trade Mission. Pictured are Wil Pineau, Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Commerce and Seaboard Marine’s Juliette Osbourne. For the second year, Seaboard Marine is supporting the Chamber of Commerce’s Panama Trade Mission, as a major sponsor of the trip. “Seaboard Marine is once again thrilled to be supporting the Panama Trade Mission” said Juliette Osbourne of Seaboard Marine. “It is important that we increase and solidify ties with our surrounding neighbours so that we all can benefit from regional trade.” Seaboard Marine is an ocean transportation company that provides direct, regular service between the United States and the Caribbean Basin, Central and South America. Seaboard’s fleet consists of dozens of vessels, thousands of dry, reefer and specialised containers and related equipment with direct service between the U.S. and major ports of call throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. The Chamber of Commerce Panama Trade Mission takes place from 6 to 10 March. Participants will be provided the opportunity to attend the Expocomer Trade Show and will be given the opportunity to visit the Colon Free Trade Zone, the largest trading area in the Western Hemisphere. For more information or to make your reservation, please contact the Chamber of Commerce at 949-8090 or www.caymanchamber.ky
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Suez unit buys 51 pct stake in Panama power plant from UK's Ashmore

Foreign Direct Investment sharewatch.com - The plant, located on the country's Atlantic coast, has a total installed capacity of 280 MegaWatts. The government of Panama retains a 49 pct holding in the plant. As part of the transaction, Suez is selling its entire interest in its natural gas distribution company Calidda based in Lima and Callao, Peru, to the Ashmore Group and its affiliate Promigas. Suez said the transaction is "an opportunity...to pursue its strategy of expanding into new regional markets with growth potential, complementing its existing strong positions in Peru, Brazil and Chile." Suez said it expects to continue participating in other "relevant infrastructure projects and energy developments" in Panama. No financial details were disclosed. simon.zekaria@thomson.com
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Bush: Will Call On Congress To Support Panama Trade Pact

Foreign Direct Investment By Henry J. Pulizzi - WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- President George W. Bush told Panamanian President Martin Torrijos Friday that he will prod lawmakers to ratify a pending free trade agreement between the U.S. and Panama. "I assure you we will work in good faith to get an agreement done and I will call upon the United States Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, to support this deal that will help both nations," Bush said in the Oval Office after meeting with Torrijos. The agreement was signed in December, but hasn't been approved by legislators in either country. Democrats are pushing for labor standards to be addressed in outstanding trade pacts with Colombia, Peru and Panama. Advancing its free trade agenda is more difficult for the White House since Democrats took control of both houses of Congress in November. The administration wants to push through the outstanding agreements - land deals with South Korea and Malaysia - and extend Bush's trade promotion authority. Democrats, reluctant to be labeled as protectionists, have signaled they are open to the trade pacts, but want the deals to incorporate the United Nation's International Labor Organization core labor standards.
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Latin America's Informal Economy Proves Hard to Control

Foreign Direct Investment Informal economy proves hard to controlAbout half of Latin America's urban workforce toils in the informal economy despite efforts to bring them under greater government oversight. BY TYLER BRIDGES for the Miami Herald - LIMA - Wilmer Pinto never considered getting a business license when he installed a second-hand sewing machine in a street doorway two years ago and began repairing clothing and shoes. ''Taxes are too high, and the paperwork keeps you from being able to work,'' Pinto said, taking a respite from his job. ``Besides, I'd have to pay off someone to get a business license.'' Like tens of millions of Latin Americans, Pinto is a member of the informal economy. He pays no business or sales taxes, but he also gets no paid vacations, has no health insurance, receives no labor or consumer law protections and doesn't have access to bank credits. Despite increasing efforts to address the problem, the International Labor Organization and the World Bank, using slightly different measures, agree that about half of all urban workers in Latin America operate off the books, outside of government scrutiny, for good or for bad. (more)
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New Topic - Foreign Direct Investment

Foreign Direct Investment I've been taking a harder look at the kinds of articles I've been dumping into the "money matters" category. About 80% of this material has to do with Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Panama - "Foreign direct investment (FDI) is defined as a long-term investment by a foreign direct investor in an enterprise resident in an economy other than that in which the foreign direct investor is based." Companies from around the world have noticed Panama and are making strategic investments. This kind of economic activity is usually a good (excellent) long term indicator of economic health and stability, and I know that if you're not interested in this kind of thing it will blow right by you. But lumped together over time you can see sectors and players emerging and millions if not billions of dollars are being poured into Panama from multinationals. Since all economic activity is interconnected whatever happens in Venezuela, Italy, or Russia can have a significant impact here. In any case, I just wanted to announce the new category, and maybe one of these days I'll get around to going back and sorting out the articles in the "Money Matters" category, but I doubt it. The bottom line is that the money is pouring into Panama from every possible spigot.
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