Minister Ploumen lays cornerstone of Panama embassy

Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen has laid the cornerstone of the new Dutch embassy in Panama. The establishment of the embassy is part of larger efforts to reform the Dutch diplomatic presence in Latin America. The Netherlands is strengthening its presence in Brazil and Panama while closing five missions elsewhere in the region. The embassy in Panama will mainly concentrate on trade and economic affairs.

‘With its strategically vital canal, Panama is one of the most dynamic economies in the region,’ said Ms Ploumen. ‘By establishing this embassy, the Netherlands is looking to take maximum advantage of the available opportunities for trade and economic diplomacy. As a hub for maritime and air transport, Panama is also an important partner of the Caribbean countries of the Kingdom.’

Panama is modernising its canals, ports and general infrastructure. ‘There are opportunities for Dutch companies in fields where the Netherlands is strong, such as maritime infrastructure and water management,’ said the minister. ‘But there are also attractive opportunities in other sectors: agriculture, oil and gas, the chemical industry and logistics.’ The Netherlands is the fifth-largest investor in Panama and the leading destination in the European Union for Panamanian exports. Dutch companies like Vopak, VT Shipping and Boskalis have been successful in obtaining major contracts. Many Dutch companies, like Philips and Heineken, have their regional offices there.