What are the main strategic priorities of the new administration?
President Cortizo's administration is entirely focused on achieving our Vision 2020 goals. In line with that, our first step is to strengthen the confidence in the government. We will create a true democratic society for the people and pursue, in every way, cultural growth, economic progress, and social welfare, through the execution of the initiatives detailed in our strategic plan. Our actions are based on four pillars: good governance, rule of law, competitive economy, and the eradication of poverty. The basis of all four pillars is education. Our mission is clear: to protect the national interests and promote sustainable economic, cultural, and social growth. Our administration is focused on reestablishing Panama's historic role in the international arena as the convergence center.
How can Panama contribute to the development of the region?
Ever since the establishment of the Panama Canal and its affiliates infrastructures, the Panamanian isthmus has been used as a strategic, globalized trade route for both mobilization of people and goods, either crossing from the Atlantic or the Pacific Ocean. Currently, Panama continues to forge the path as the leader in the region, not only by contributing as a maritime, logistics, and trade hub, but also by expanding all areas of business and opportunities throughout the country and region. In terms of sustainability and development, Panama has realigned its priorities to focus on its short- and long-term objectives regarding sustainable economic growth, one of the key strategic objectives of President Cortizo and his government.
What are the ministry's goals for 2020?
One of the main goals of the Ministry of Commerce and Industries for 2020 is to address the systemic obstacles and challenges the local producers and industries have been facing in terms of exporting goods and services. By first identifying such obstacles and studying the best course of action, we have been working on a thorough solution, thereby setting up centers and entities to overcome them through the implementation of our holistic approach. In addition, we believe it is time to assess the dominant role of the private sector in our economy. The public sector should move from being a passive facilitator to a proactive one by establishing the necessary guidelines to guarantee a permanent communication channel with the private sector. This particularly can be achieved by structuring a Commercial Intelligence Unit with specific objectives: developing a strong partnership with the business sector; identifying and foreseeing new business opportunities to help further expand our access to foreign markets by leveraging the FTAs negotiated in recent decades, as well as targeting the main reasons of our inability to take advantage of the opportunities identified back then. Locally, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Commerce have a common goal of working together to become a facilitator for all investments, thus introducing pathways to reduce transaction costs and internal bureaucratic logistics. We are envisioning strategies to become more competitive in constantly evolving global markets.