BEIJING, June 22 (Xinhua) -- Establishment of diplomatic ties will bring new opportunities for China-Panama economic relations, according to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.
China and Panama have opened up a new chapter of trade after the two countries established diplomatic ties on June 13, Sun Jiwen, spokesman of the ministry, said at a press briefing.
Panama is China's largest trading partner in Central America. Bilateral trade hit 6.38 billion U.S. dollars in 2016. China's direct investment in Panama has exceeded 230 million U.S. dollars.
By the end of 2016, China has contracted projects worth 1.33 billion U.S. dollars in Panama. Nearly 30 Chinese companies are running marine shipping, telecommunications, financial and infrastructure business in Panama with local partners, creating jobs for local people.
China is the second largest user of the Panama Canal with over 1,000 ships passing through the canal every year.
Sun said diplomatic ties would allow the two governments to work out more favorable policy on trade and expand cooperation in financial and infrastructure development.