Panama, China open talks on free trade agreement

FILE PHOTO - Panama’s President Juan Carlos Varela (L) shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping during a signing ceremony in Beijing, China November 17, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Mexico City: Officials from Panama and China are meeting in the opening round of talks to reach a free trade agreement, one year after the two countries established diplomatic relations.

The talks started yesterday in Panama City and are expected to last through Friday.

Panama’s commerce minister says his country hopes to become the point of entry for Chinese investments and products for the region.

Augusto Arosemena says that would be a fundamental part of the talks. China is the second largest user of the Panama Canal after the United States.

Panama dropped relations with Taiwan and established relations with China in June of last year.