Thailand welcomed Panama’s Vice-President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado, with all the honors and friendship, since it’s the first woman to hold both positions in Panama and the first high political authority to visit the Kingdom of Thailand since the start of diplomatic relationship 36 years ago.
Thanks to efforts being carried by H.E. María Martínez in the recent years, diplomatic relationship between both countries have reached its highest level as the Vice-President held a meeting with her counterpart, H.E. Don Pramudwinai, dealing subjects such as visa waiver for Panamanian citizens, further bilateral meetings, access to ASEAN community and technical exchange for Humanitarian Hubs, among others. In her agenda was also included a courtesy call to H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand, in which Panama’s Vice- President reaffirmed the official invitation to host H.R.H. Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on her visit next year.
H.E. Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado also congratulated and welcomed Thailand on its road for democracy, aiming to held a democratic election on February 2019. Thailand’s biggest request came by the hand of the Minister of Transport, H.E. Arkhom Termpittayapaisit, as they seek to improve their deep-sea ports to enhance the EEC (Eastern Economic Corridor) and the maritime connection with Panama, through a Memorandum of Understanding.
Let’s review the relevant points of highest level of the diplomatic relationships.
5 Things you should know
- What is Panama attractiveness to Thailand?Connectivity: Panama is the gateway to all the Americas market; Stability: Panama has an average of 10% growth in the last decade; Vision: “The Falcon Policy” aims to exchange knowledge, culture and business with the Asia-Pacific region.
- Will there be a Panama-Thailand FTA? It is still too soon to provide a date, but the cards are on the table, as 70 VIP members from both Thai Chamber of Commerce and Thai Federation of Industries mentioned their interest at the Business Conference to achieve a future agreement that enriches the commercial exchange between both countries, that currently goes around US$ 200 million.
- Is the Kra Isthmus Canal project an option to improve Thai Economy? H.E. Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado, mentioned that she is aware of the benefits and responsibilities that operating a Canal in such transited region means, as Panama inaugurated recently its Expanded Canal. Therefore, she backed the idea of the Kra Canal, as a highestfuture improvement towards a regional Thailand hub.
- Which are the immediate consequences of her official visit to the Kingdom? Among others, lies the coordination of a highly important delegation to visit Panama during 2019, lead by H.R.H. Maha Chakri Sirindhorn; the approval of a visa waiver for Panamanians to visit Thailand (Pending for signature); Cultural exchange programs incentives, such as Panamanians filming in Thailand both documentary and movie, arts showcase in Thailand, fashion projects with Thai Silk and technical & educational and academic exchange for specific sectors, such as tourism and logistics.
- Top similarities between Panama and Thailand? Both countries connect North and South, East and West, although with a different approach. Panama provides services that facilitate connectivity around the region, such as financial, banking and logistics. Thailand is strong in manufacturing and agriculture; hosts the most visited city in the last two years, Bangkok, a country visited by over 36 million tourists and its economy healthy thanks to the construction sector and tourism.
To conclude, the Embassy of Panama to the Kingdom of Thailand would like to thank everyone involved in the execution of some of these milestones and achievements, that relies on its continuity among those who share a vision of a unified world towards a sustainable development. We remain committed to continue a path of friendship and cooperation with our best efforts and creativity.