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China-LAC business summit kicks off in Panama

Updated: Dec 10,2019 09:27 AM    Xinhua

PANAMA CITY — The 13th China-Latin America and the Caribbean Business Summit kicked off on Dec 9 to further boost trade ties and inclusive corporate investment.

"China is definitely an attractive market for both multinational investors, and small and medium-sized businesses," Panama's Minister of Commerce and Industries Ramon Martinez said during the opening ceremony.

About 1,000 companies are expected to take part in the three-day summit, including approximately 600 from Latin America and 400 from China.

"In just a decade, trade volume between China and Latin America has grown more than 20-fold, through hundreds of signed agreements and scores of projects underway in key areas for the region's development, such as infrastructure, energy and transport," said the official.

Veronica Zavala, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) representative for Central America, said she believes the summit serves as an essential tool to generate new business opportunities, and promote exports and foreign investment.

"Businesses are increasingly global, but they are built on contacts between people at forums such as this," said Zavala, whose agency is one of the organizers of the summit.

"More and better investment benefits both China and Latin America and the Caribbean. We need to open doors to have the opportunities that put us on the path to inclusive growth," added Zavala, who also represents the IDB in Mexico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

The president of Panama's Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, Jorge Juan de la Guardia, noted China is one of the leading clients of the Panama Canal shipping route.

China is also the leading supplier of merchandise distributed throughout the Americas via Panama's Colon Free Trade Zone, said De la Guardia.

According to De la Guardia, Panama's business-friendly features make it the perfect host for the summit.

"Panama offers the ideal setting for doing business, due to its political and economic stability, and its geographical position between North and South America," he said.

Lu Pengqi, vice-chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), said that the summit helps to bolster ties between China and Latin America, and highlight China's strategy of continued growth and opening-up.

The summit could generate as much as $190 million in business deals, according to organizers.