Shanghai Party chief visits Panama and calls for broader cooperation

Shanghai Party Secretary Li Qiang headed a delegation of the Communist Party of China to visit Panama from July 17 to 19.

Shanghai Party Secretary Li Qiang headed a delegation of the Communist Party of China to visit Panama from July 17 to 19.

During his visit, Li met separately with Juan Carlos Varela, president of Panama; and Jose Luis Varela, president of Panamenista Party.

Li also attended the signing ceremony of the letter of intent for cooperation and exchange between Shanghai and Panama City and inspected the Panama Canal navigation lock and Colon Free Trade Zone to learn about China Cosco Shipping Corporation’s business operations in Panama.

While meeting Jose Luis Varela, president of Panamenista Party, Li said his visit will help implement the important consensus reached by President Xi Jinping and President Juan Carlos Varela, and to increase the mutual political trust and ideology exchanges with Panamenista Party.


Shanghai Party Secretary Li Qiang meets Jose Luis Varela, president of Panamenista Party.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of China’s opening-up and reforms and China is willing to share its experience with Panama. As China’s opening-up and reforms’ testing field, Shanghai will continue to open up and strengthen its cooperation with the outside world.

The city hopes it can share its complementary advantages with Panama in various industries, and to deepen the cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road initiative, Li added.

Varela said the establishment of the bi-lateral relations between China and Panama has greatly benefited and is supported by the people in both countries, and it has further consolidated the existing friendly relations. Panama is willing to learn from the CPC’s experience in managing the country, deepen the party-to-party communication, and promote the Sino-Panama relations to better the livelihood of the people in both countries.

As the biggest economic center city, Panama City has many similarities with Shanghai. Under the framework of friendly cooperation agreement, the two cities can explore the opportunities of practical cooperation mechanisms in various industries, Varela added.

At a subsequent meeting with Jose Isabel Blandon Figueroa, mayor of Panama City, Li said Shanghai is working hard to build its “five centers,” as well as building itself into an influential socialist metropolis by upgrading its urban function level and sharpening its core competitiveness.



Shanghai Party Secretary meets Jose Isabel Blandon Figueroa, mayor of Panama City.

Shanghai and Panama City are far away, but they are complementary to each other and have great cooperation potentials in industries such as shipping, trade, finance, and tourism. Shanghai hopes to further cooperate with Panama City to achieve win-win development, Li added.

Blandon said he has visited Shanghai for many times and its achievements have been globally impressive. The establishment of the diplomatic relations between China and Panama has brought a historical opportunity for the two cities to strengthen cooperation. Panama City hopes to deepen the cooperation in trade, tourism, shipping, the exchanges among the civil servants in both countries, and the construction of infrastructure.

After the meeting, Li and Blandon attended the signing ceremony of the letter of intent for cooperation and exchange between Shanghai and Panama City. According to the letter of intent, the two cities will carry out exchanges and cooperation in industries such as trade, shipping, logistics, cultural industries, education, transportation, and urban management.

Later, Li visited the Panama Canal Navigation Lock to learn about the canal’s operation and its extension construction and listened to briefings by representatives from China Cosco Shipping Corporation on the firm’s business development and its involvement in the extension construction of Panama Canal.


Shanghai Party Secretary Li Qiang visits the Panama Canal Navigation Lock with Juan Carlos Varela, president of Panama.

Li said Cosco has seized the opportunity of the expansion project of Panama Canal and has achieved great business development in Panama and the Latin American markets.

Currently, Panama Canal is exerting its role as transport hub and it is extending its services to the neighboring areas. Shanghai hopes Cosco can seize the opportunity to keep expanding its business and help more Chinese companies to branch into the overseas markets, Li added.

During the visit, Li also inspected the Colon Free Trade Zone. The FTZ focuses on intermediary trade and it facilitates the business operation for foreign importing and exporting companies. After learning about the zone’s business operation, Li discussed Shanghai Free Trade Zone’s institutional innovation with representatives from the Colon FTZ, and Li attended the signing ceremony of cooperation agreement between the Shanghai-based Orient International (Holding) Co and Colon Free Trade Zone.

Wei Qiang, China’s ambassador in Panama; Li Jun, deputy minister of International Department of the CPC Central Committee; and Zhou Bo, executive vice mayor of Shanghai, also attended the related events.

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