The Panama-Canada Connection
Strong Canadian Industry in the Isthmus
New Canadian companies are taking a serious look at Panama as they see their competitors who are quietly reaping profits. Canadian banking giant Bank of Novia Scotia, or as they are known locally, Scotiabank’s net income increased a whopping 45% this year, led in part by an $8.6 million dollar increase on net interest income. They’ve had a three year market expansion focused on residential and commercial lending that has enjoyed tremendous success. Other Canadian companies are enjoying similar success, including a handful of major mine operators as well as engineering giants like SNC Lavalin who have been focused on the energy and hydro sectors in Panama.
Bombardier Inc, a large Canadian manufacturer of trains is also looking into participating in phases two and three of the Metro project, whose first phase is more than 50% completed.
According to Sylvia Cesaratto, the Canadian ambassador, the free trade agreement between Panama and Canada is going to open up a myriad of possibilities for Canadian companies who want access to the Panamanian market, and vice versa. Canadian agricultural companies have had a long history in Panama, and Mrs. Cesaratto expects the newly-agreed-upon bilateral activity between Panama and Canada to exceed the $235 million dollars from last year.
The mining sector is another area that Canadian companies have enjoyed success in over the years. While enforcement of environmental standards has always been very weak in Panama, one of the goals of the Canadian ambassador is to work closer with both the national environmental board (ANAM) and the newly created Ministry of Natural Resources. Inmet, who is operating in the Donoso copper mines, said to be one of the largest reserves of copper in the world, is by Canadian law required to operate by the same environmental standards as if they were operating in Canada. Although the reality is that enforcement of environmental policy and regulation of mining projects often is underfunded and under prioritized in Panama, the Canadian representative says that one of their goals for this administration is to work bilaterally with the Panamanian authorities to increase training, awareness, and oversight.
Over 30% of Canadian GDP is based on exports, with over 75% of those exports going to the US, and this free trade agreement is another indication that the Canadian government is looking to open up new doors for Canadian companies. The new Panama Canada free trade agreement will be yet another country that Panama has forged stronger economic ties with and a new market for Canadian imports and Panamanian exports.
Thinking about bringing your business to Panama or importing Panamanian products? We’ve got the connections, contact us today.