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On Thursday, July 11, the First Bilateral Consultation Meeting took place in Panama between the Republic of Panama and the Kingdom of Thailand.

The Thai delegation was headed by the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Virasakdi Futrakul and composed of the Director of the Latin America Division and officials of that Ministry of Foreign Affiars, who also carried out a fruitful program of meetings and field visits with authorities and national entities. The Panamanian counterpart was chaired by the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luis Miguel Hincapié and integrated by the Ambassador of Panama to the Kingdom of Thailand,
S.E María del Carmen Martínez Arosemena and senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It was a first and successful meeting of the Consultation Mechanism, instituted in August 2016, which culminates a concrete expression of the will and political commitment of Panama and Thailand to further strengthen their relations of friendship and cooperation and bring them to a higher level of development. As an expression of the importance of this event, Deputy Minister Futrakul was received in a special audience by the Vice President of the Republic and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Isabel Saint Malo, who took the opportunity to congratulate the successful work carried out by the Government of Thailand in the rescue of 12 young people and their trainer, trapped in the caves of Tham Luang.

This high-level meeting, which is inserted in the promotion of the principles of the Falcon Policy established by President Juan Carlos Varela and which seeks, among other objectives, the face-to-face positioning of Panama in Southeast Asia, Oceania, Africa and the Middle East, allowed to give a significant boost to the diplomatic relations between Panama and Thailand, established on August 20, 1982.

At the meeting in Panama City, issues related to political, economic, commercial, logistic/maritime, tourism and cooperation between both countries were discussed, as well as the promotion of investments, highlighting the shared will of Panama to become, in the short term, in a regional and global hub of international cooperation for development actions, through the Regional Logistics Center for Humanitarian Assistance (CLRAH), a space in which Thailand would collaborate through its responsible agencies for risk promotion, of information exchange, in terms of resilience, risk and disaster management, as well as in the development of capacities. Likewise, on this occasion it was agreed to begin the exchange of good practices in international cooperation, for the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

On the other hand, there was also accord on the importance of negotiating an agreement on maritime cooperation that generates spaces of reciprocity, such as the mutual recognition of seafarers; competency titles, as well as the optimization of processes in this segment. Both countries also agreed to establish cooperation agreements in technical-educational matters of the agricultural sector as well as the exchange of good practices within the framework of the Panama Coopera Program. Both Panama and Thailand recognized the need to continue promoting high-level meetings between authorities of both countries aimed at generating tangible results for bilateral relations, through an Action Plan.

Finally, also within the political-diplomatic activities, Deputy Minister Futakul had the opportunity to offer an important conference on the relationship between ASEAN and Latin America, an occasion where he made a recount on the aforementioned sub regional association, APEC and other regional references, which demonstrated the importance of connectivity for the development of the economic affairs of the countries. He considered that both Panama and Thailand are countries that are called to be increasingly interconnected and to work together through their respective and important geographical positions.

Finally, also as part of its working program, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand conducted fieldwork visits, which sought to highlight and highlight the competitiveness of Panama as a platform, global logistics center and interoceanic node, as well as the positioning of the maritime services that are offered by its national maritime industry. The places visited included the Colon Free Zone; the Panama Canal Expanded and the “Miraflores” locks (in the Pacific Ocean) and “Agua Clara” (in the Caribbean Sea/Atlantic Ocean), where he operated one of its floodgates.

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