Monday, September 17, 2018

'Panama is a country that provides opportunities for business'


'Panama is a country that provides opportunities for business'

Bahk Sahng-hoon, Korea's ambassador to Panama, who will leave office in a few days, received 'The Star of Panama' in his office. He talked about his experience in the country, showing optimism about the Panamanian economy.

By La Estrella de Panama


When Bahk Sahng-hoon (Seoul, 1964) visited Panama for the first time in 2002, he never imagined becoming the highest representative of his nation in the Isthmus, fourteen years later. Since taking office in 2016, as Ambassador of Korea in Panama, he has sought to promote the image of his country, establishing the necessary bilateral relations.
Sahng-hoon was a participant in a historic event between the two nations, when trade ministers from Korea and five countries of Central America, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Panama met to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) on last February 12. "Korea is the second Asian country to sign an FTA with Panama, after Singapore," he says.
'I HAVE A SUGGESTION: IMPROVE ROAD ARTERIES. WITH MORE LIGHTING, MORE ASPHALTED AND MORE DRAINAGES FOR RAINS. THERE HAS BEEN MANY ACCIDENTS AND THE TRAFFIC IN THE CITY IS TERRIBLE '.

About 15 days ago he received a phone call from the Foreign Minister of his country, who informed him that his work in Panama was over. His nation had a special job for him. 'I will be the Ambassador for Public Diplomacy; it's an opportunity to serve my country, it's an offer I cannot refuse, "he says. Sahng-hoon regrets leaving early, but takes away 'experiences, achievements and satisfactions'. He also hopes to look a bit like the Panamanians, because he says that "they are always positive and cheerful." From the fourteenth floor of the RBS tower of the city, the Korean ambassador receives La Estrella de Panamá in his office, where he boasts a wonderful view of the city. Diplomat Sahng-hoon does not lose his smile while answering questions about his new role, his experience in Panama, what is left pending, business relations and the inter-Korean summit that aims to achieve peace.
To break the ice, before the interview, remember with special enthusiasm, that day that visited our press and could see a copy, with its pages already yellowed, the date when he was born. "It was a very gentle and impressive gesture to admire such a thing," he recalls. Since then, an edition of 'La Dean' has never been missing from his desk.
TELL ME, WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR YOU TO BE AN AMBASSADOR?
Being an ambassador carries a great responsibility. It is a huge commitment. As an ambassador from Panama I never felt that my job was difficult, I really enjoyed my service in many ways. I tell you: I enjoyed working with my Panamanian counterparts, in the Government, in the National Assembly ... I met many businessmen, and many good people who always helped me and trusted in my good will to execute the things I wanted to do. I was a lucky one. Panama is a happy country. (smile)
THEY SEND TO YOU TO CITY OF PANAMA AND THINK WHAT WELL, PANAMA, A COUNTRY 'ALEGRE', AS IT HAS SAID IT BEFORE; NOW THEY RETURN TO SEOUL, BEFORE TIME ...
I have been here for two years and four months and I have enjoyed my service in this beautiful country. Normally we serve in a position for three years ... I will return to Seoul this week, where I will receive my new instructions from the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
AND, WHAT WILL YOUR NEW CHARGE BE?
Officially I will be ambassador for Public Diplomacy. It is a new concept of traditional diplomacy. In other words, government relations are left aside and one focuses basically on representing and promoting Korea through academia, the private sector, society and NGOs.
IS IT A MAJOR RESPONSIBILITY?
Yes. I accepted it with humility, it is a new challenge, and with the challenges come the opportunities. I will take them with great pleasure and I will always think how I can do my job in the best way. However, before leaving as Ambassador of Korea in Panama, I will continue doing it in the best possible way, until the last day.
HOW HAS YOUR DIPLOMATIC EXPERIENCE BEEN IN OUR COUNTRY?
If I could describe my experience, in Panama, it would be in a book. My book is made up of many chapters. I wrote my 'Chapter: Panama', for two years and four months, and that chapter is very rich, rewarding and, above all, happy. Before coming here, I had a list of 'what to do' as an ambassador, I had many things on that list. I cannot say that I completed each of them, but I can say that the ones I did were very rewarding and happy, and I feel satisfied with my service. The 'Chapter: Panama' was very well written, full of achievements and satisfactions.
AND WHAT WAS YOU PENDING?
As I was saying, in my list of 'things to do' as an ambassador, it was a long list, I could not complete it all, but I finished it 90%. The only one that I have not achieved, that I could achieve it if I had more time, would be to create a more substantial cooperation in the projects of waste management and water use and management. These are two areas in which I would like to see more progress and where I would like to see more achievements.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST IMPORTANT MILESTONE BETWEEN PANAMA AND KOREA?
Probably the main achievement of the relations was the signing of the free trade agreement between Korea and Central America. We are waiting for the ratifications of both National Assemblies, both in Panama and in Korea. Everything will come into effect next year. We hope that with this, the exchange relations between the two countries will increase even more.
AND THE KOREAN PRESENCE IN THE COUNTRY?
The Korean community is not very big. We are 400 Koreans. We have 19 companies, and two of them, governmental. One of them is Kotra, whose objective is to promote Korean trade and investment in Panama and vice versa.
LET'S TALK, THEN OF THE COMMERCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS ...
Among the private ones, we have Samsung, LG, Hankook Tire, we even have a bank, KEB Hana Bank. Without a doubt, we see Panama as a 'hub' for the entire Latin American and Caribbean region.
AND YOU WHO KNOWS THE INTERNATIONAL DYNAMICS WELL, IS IT OPTIMISTIC AS TO THE ECONOMIC GROWTH OF THE COUNTRY?
Clear! We see Panama as a country that provides opportunities for business. And that's why I came here, to help you generate business. My contribution, if I could say it, in the 2 years and four months that I was here, was to update, improve and increase the friendship and cooperation of two countries.
WHAT IMPORTANCE DOES THE PANAMA CANAL HAVE FOR ITS COUNTRY?
Very many. We occupy the sixth place of customers, due to the load flow used by the Canal.
HOW DID THE PANAMANIAN SOCIETY PERCEIVE?
I admire the Panamanians very much. I like the attitude with which they face life. In Korea, we are more serious, very serious. In Panama, life is full of joy, the inhabitants are positive before the difficulties.
LET'S TALK, NOW ABOUT THE INTERCOREAN SUMMIT, A NEW PEACE WAS BETWEEN BOTH NATIONS?
In general terms, we are on a fragile road; however, we are making steady progress. An example of this: the historic summit between the Koreas of the North and the South, in April, the meeting between the embassies on two occasions, and the one that will take place in September in Pyongyang in North Korea. As you know, there are North Korea, South Korea and the United States, as the key parties in this litigation. However, China, Russia and Japan also want to raise their voices; technically the two Koreas are now at war, although this would have ended with the signing of the armistice agreement of July 27, 1953.
WHAT IS EXPECTED FROM THE MEETING IN PYONGYANG OF SEPTEMBER?
As you can see, Donald Trump and Kim-Yung Un met in Singapore in June and after that their representation still stands. Our representation is still standing: South Korea, as an ally of the United States ... so this tripartite agreement is on track. I know that there is no significant result, but both South Korea, North Korea and the United States are working very closely and the September summit will surely provide moments that will advance this discussion, where our goal is the total denuclearization of the peninsula. We want to achieve a permanent peace.
FINALLY, SOMETHING THAT SHOULD BE IMPROVED IN THE CITY OF PANAMA?
I have a suggestion: improve the arterial arteries. With more lighting, more asphalt and more drainage for the rains. There have been many accidents and the traffic in the city is terrible.

Friday, September 14, 2018

The Panama Metro carried out the first tests of Line 2

From La Estrella de Panama


The Panama Metro carried out the first tests of Line 2

The tests were made from the courtyards and workshops from 24 de Diciembre  to Pedregal station.

Since the night of August 16, the Panama Metro is conducting the first tests with the first trains on Line 2. According to statements by President Juan Carlos Varela, last June, these tests were scheduled to take place on December 28.

These tests are carried out late at night from the yards and workshops of the Panama Metro located in Nuevo Tocumen, in the corregimiento December 24 to Pedregal station.

Yesterday, the assembly of the footbridge or pedestrian crossing of the Cincuentenario station, on Avenida Domingo Díaz, was finished, specifically by the Roosevelt roundabout area.

Of the 16 stations of Line 2, this footbridge is the largest, has a length of 68 meters, a weight of 343 tons and for its assembly some 26,567 screws have been used.

Line 2 is 80% complete and must be operational from January 15 for the World Youth Day to be held in Panama from January 22 to 27, 2019. By that date, 5 of the 16 will have to function. 

After the event that will gather thousands of pilgrims, Line 2 will close and then open in April for the entire population.


The section of Line 2 comprises a length of 21 kilometers of elevated road. The 16 stations will go from Nuevo Tocumen to the Gran Estación de San Miguelito to join Line 1.

The stations are located in San Miguelito, Paraíso, junction with Vía Cincuentenario, Villa Lucre, Brisas del Golf, Cerro Viento, San Antonio, El Parador, Don Bosco, the Technological University of Panama (UTP), Las Mañanitas, Hospital Irma de Lourdes Tzanetatos, Altos de Tocumen, December 24 and the Nuevo Tocumen neighborhood.

The mega project will have 21 trains of 5 wagons and is built since October 2015 by the Line 2 Consortium formed by Odebrecht and FCC Construcciones, companies that made Line 1.

The work has an investment of $ 1,857 million and will have an initial capacity to transport 16,000 passengers per hour in each direction, but is designed for a maximum future capacity of 40,000 passengers during peak hours.

The average public travel time for the East area and part of San Miguelito to the city center during peak hours is 90 minutes; reaching more than two hours. With Line 2 in operation, this population can make the same trip in 35 minutes.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Varela participated in the last concrete pouring of the third bridge over the Canal


Varela participated in the last concrete pouring of the third bridge over the Canal


The project was promoted by the ACP and presents an advance of 90%, exceeding $ 570 million

President Juan Carlos Varela witnessed the last concrete emptying of the construction works of the third bridge over the Panama Canal, in the province of Colon.

Varela said that this new bridge will help develop a new tourist circuit between the provinces of Colon and Panama.

"These works are a sign that we continue working tirelessly for the progress of Columbus; this bridge will benefit the residents of some 14 townships of the communities of the Costa Abajo de Colón ", added the president.

He also called on the private sector to join and support the infrastructure investment being made by the Government and the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) in the province of Colon.

The project was promoted by the ACP and presents an advance of 90%, exceeding $ 570 million. This work is in addition to the completion of the natural gas plant, the urban renewal of the province and the promotion of Colón Puerto Libre.

By La Estrella de Panama


Monday, September 10, 2018

Pérez Balladares adds the support of Juan Carlos Navarro


Pérez Balladares adds the support of Juan Carlos Navarro



Both figures join forces to become the option in the primary of the party that is celebrated on September 16. Some 18 applicants signed up for the PRD presidential primary

The outlook within the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) took a new turn.

Juan Carlos Navarro, who for the third time sought to reach the Presidency of the Republic, made the decision to decline to his presidential aspirations.

Navarro joins the candidacy of Ernesto Pérez Balladares, who intends to become the standard-bearer of the PRD for the May 2019 elections.

With the resignation of Navarro to his presidential aspirations are 17 candidates in the competition.

The PRD summoned its membership, registered until May 5, to elect its electoral offer in primary elections on September 16.

From La Estrella de Panama 


The Navarro - Perez Balladares unit proclaimed itself as the Torijista alliance. Both figures share ideals strengthened by historical and permanent militancy in the PRD. In addition, concrete proposals to eradicate the political clientelism that governs the destiny of the party and the inescapable need to introduce constitutional changes that strengthen the failed institutionality and the climate of corruption that affects the country.

"We are facing a crossroads where individualities do not fit," Navarro said in front of the people who accompanied him to report that he joined the candidacy of Perez Balladares.
According to Navarro, "the best way to shake off the government is a PRD alliance with the PRD." The PRD stopped governing Panama in 2009 after losing general elections at the polls.

The two elections after 2009 the PRD, has not been so favored at the polls for the office of president. In the elections of May 2014 his candidate, Navarro, was in the third position.
"It is necessary to prevent the varelismo continue having the command another five years with their chips, close friends in all political parties," said Navarro, who added that you can not 'have candidates who shun the debates'.

Pérez Balladares invited all the members of the PRD who wish to join the 'caravan of triumph'. "Everyone is welcome and welcome," said the presidential candidate.

The president Pérez Balladares, during his speech, stressed the need to 'recover the institutionality in the country, in addition to rescuing the National Assembly and have a judicial body that does not lower its head to anyone'. Perez Balladares seeks to repeat and lead the party to victory as he did in 1994 that managed to take the Presidency to a group that 5 years before had been left in ashes and discredited by its connection with the military dictatorship that ended with the invasion of the United States. Panama.

After announcing the decline of Navarro and the invitation made Perez Balladares to join to achieve the victory in May 2019, presidential candidate Zulay Rodriguez said he will not decline to his presidential candidacy.

Navarro came to the PRD from the hand of Perez Balladares and was mayor of the district of Panama twice, considered the catapult to become president.

In the race for the internal race of the PRD continue figures as Laurentino Cortizo, Camilo Alleyne, Gerardo Solis and Mitchell Doens, among others.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Roux, proclaimed presidential CD candidate


Roux, proclaimed presidential CD candidate


The president of the JNEEP, Rosalba Chin, proceeded to the delivery of the certificate of proclamation to the candidate Rómulo Roux

From: La Estrella de Panama

The National Primary Elections Scrutiny Board (JNEEP) proclaimed Rómulo Roux as the official candidate for the Democratic Change (CD) party at the presidential seat for the General Elections on May 5, 2019, after having scrutinized the 39 minutes of the elections. Circuit boards throughout the country.

During the session the minutes were read with the final results of the CD primaries in which the participation in the polls of 100,790 voters was certified, of which 98,418 were valid votes, 940 blank votes and 1,432 null votes.

The president of the JNEEP, Rosalba Chin, proceeded to deliver the proclamation to the candidate Rómulo Roux, who during his speech thanked the Electoral Tribunal (ET) for organizing transparent elections supported by the Electoral Delegates.

The TE has the responsibility to organize, supervise and finance the primary elections of the political parties.

Monday, April 23, 2018

ECLAC: "In 2018, Panama will be the economy that will record the highest rate of expansion"


ECLAC: "In 2018, Panama will be the economy that will record the highest rate of expansion"

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) updated its regional economic projections for the year 2018 in April, noting that "Panama will be the economy that will record the highest rate of expansion."


In its report, released on April 11, ECLAC highlighted that considering the Latin American countries, Panama is ahead of the Dominican Republic (5.0%) and Nicaragua (5.0%). He did not go into detail about the prospects projected for each country.

What he did say was that the projections of activity for Latin America and the Caribbean take place in an international context "more favorable than in recent years".
Despite this, he continued, "important uncertainties persist regarding protectionist tendencies, financial dynamics and geopolitical risks".
In fact, "in several countries that have been growing at moderate rates, there will be an acceleration in economic activity: Chile (3.3%), Colombia (2.6%) and Peru (3.5%), according to the updated forecasts".

From Capital Financiero
Regional projections

As for the regional average "expansion" for this 2018, ECLAC projected 2.2%, after growing 1.2% last year, the UN agency reported.
Meanwhile, the economies of South America would grow 2.0% (compared to 0.8% in 2017), mainly as a result of the greater dynamism that Brazil will present (2.2%), ECLAC said in a statement.

For the Central American economies, the forecast for a growth rate of 3.6% is also maintained, above the 3.4% recorded in 2017, said ECLAC.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The construction of the Amador Convention Center (CCA) is up by 68% to date.


The construction of the Amador Convention Center (CCA) is up by 68% to date

Recently the Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP) made a tour of the works of this project with representatives of the Chamber of Tourism of Panama (Camtur), the Panamanian Association of Hotels and the American Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Panama.

During the day, held on April 4, it was reported that structural work is currently being completed and is in the final stages of the building's roof or roof.

In addition, the glass windows have been installed 50% and the installation of some exterior structures begins.

Escalators and much of the fire-fighting system of the banquet and exhibition buildings have also been installed.

The same applies to the installation of elevators and the ducts of air conditioners.

From Capital Financiero