Just like that — 19 economic agreements, details for us to know later

President Varela and President Xi get the red carpet treatment in Beijing. Photo by the Presidencia.

Just like that

by Eric Jackson

From Beijing, where he went with a large Panamanian delegation, much of his cabinet, a small group from Panama’s Chinese community and labor leader Genaro López, President Juan Carlos Varela tells us of 19 agreements, most apparently about such economic matters as “free trade,” infrastructure projects, agriculture and tourism. The texts of said agreements have not been disclosed and we don’t know whether they will be treaties debated by the National Assembly or executive orders which we may never know much about until one of their provisions is invoked. (The Status of Forces Agreement with the United States, which gives members of undisclosed US forces operating on Panamanian territory diplomatic immunity, is one of those.) Panama’s economic relations with China thus start out in marked contrast with our ties with other countries in the Americas, the details of which generally took years to negotiate.


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