On June 12, 2017, the Republic of Panama established diplomatic relations with the People’s republic of China, with which it had only commercial relations. The diplomatic opening to People’s Republic of China meant automatically breaking diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
Chinese President Xi Jinping invited the President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, to officially visit China as part of the acts celebrating the new diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The Panamanian Foreign Minister, Isabel de Saint Malo, in her visit to Beijing for the official announcement of the establishment of the relations said that “new doors are opened in trade, economic, and tourism for both countries” and that Panama “will be a Bridge between China and Latin America and the Caribbean. “
The countries already had commercial relations, as evidenced by the fact that 6.7% of the multinational companies branches in Panama (SEM regime) are from the People’s Republic of China. The People’s Republic of China is the second most important user of the Panama Canal and the first supplier of the Colon Free Zone.
The establishment of diplomatic relations comes days after China Landbridge Group announced the construction of a container port in the Atlantic (Isla Margarita, Colón) at an approximate cost of $ 1 billion.