Panamá has taken a step reach more than 550 million people in the European continent, with the signing of an interinstitutional agreement that formalizes the opening, for the first time in the history, of an agro-commercial office outside Panamanian borders, located in the Port of Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
The Port of Rotterdam receives more than 60% of Panamanian products that go to Europe, so the creation of this office opens the way to strengthening relations with other nations and ultimately having a greater presence of our products in the old continent.
The office, which will open in the first days of August, will be responsible for holding meetings with the various parties involved in the commercial activities of Panamanian companies or producers in Europe, following up on Panamanian products that are entering through the Port of Rotterdam, and creating a directory of the current clients and buyers of Panamanian companies.
Later, during an execution stage, contacts between Panamanian companies and European clients must be coordinated, a list of important fairs and events relevant to our agro-commercial office will be designed, and the “Panamá Exporta” country brand will be promoted in different markets and locations. This should also function as a complement to the work being done by the Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MICI) and the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MIDA), regarding the monitoring and commercial accompaniment provided to producers, so that from Europe, it may keep the whole country informed of European market trends, prices, and the behavior of our competitors.
The Minister of Agricultural Development Eduardo Enrique Carles was optimistic about the opening of this new office because it represents great challenges and opportunities for the agro-export sector. "Today, we fulfill another great challenge, an achievement that reinforces our commitment to continue supporting the agricultural sector and the economic growth of the country. In a joint effort between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Agricultural Development, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Maritime Authority of Panama, we sign this inter-institutional agreement, which officially marks the opening of the Agro-Commercial Office in Rotterdam, the Netherlands." –he expressed- “Our land, our people have so much to offer. We produce the best. Since we arrived at the Ministry of Agricultural Development we have led a tireless effort to stabilize the sector and to initiate the integral transformation of agriculture, which had been abandoned for more than 30 years. Panama Exporta is a tangible example of this work."
The head of the agricultural portfolio stressed that it has been a great achievement not only for this government, but for the State, because "we are directing exports to a new place. Panama has all the conditions to position itself as a leader in this component that will benefit the country's economy. And we are not going to stop, for the next year. We will be opening the agro-commercial office in Shanghai, China, so that we can expand and strengthen our presence in the Asian continent".
The Minister of Commerce and Industries Augusto Arosemena Moreno, for his part, shared his satisfaction with the work that is being done, because today it pays off and marks the way towards the consolidation of the Panama Exporta country brand in international markets.
"As facilitators of foreign trade, the creation of Agro-Commercial offices in other countries became one of our goals with the primary purpose of serving as a direct connection between the exporter and the buyers," he said.
The Vice President of the Republic and Minister of Foreign Affairs Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado, congratulated the collaborators and representatives of the government of Panama in each of the countries where our State has a presence:
"I congratulate the efforts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, MIDA and the MICI and thank the Dutch government for its support in terms of cooperation and exchange of experiences. We will continue to explore similar possibilities in other regions to open more opportunities" she expressed, regarding the opening of the new agro-commercial office.
More than 20 companies already market their products under the country brand Panama Exporta; while another 80 companies are registered to reach the international market bearing its seal. In fact, after several years, the country brand led to an increase of 4% in exports. And for the first months of 2018, exports increased by 10%, more than 180 million dollars.
Currently, Panamanian products arrive in European market countries such as Holland, Germany, England, Italy, Switzerland and Poland. Nevertheless, an important function of the agro-commercial office is to make new contacts with countries that represent a new opportunity for our producers, without neglecting the current clients that exist in the better known European countries.