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Panama

Flag of Panama

Panama country brief

Panama country brief

Australia and Panama enjoy expanding relations.

Key engagement

Largest trading partner in Central America with growing commercial interests. Panama opened an embassy in Australia in December 2018.

Outlook

Panama's economy has been one of the fastest growing globally in the last decade.

Opportunities exist in mining, infrastructure and clean energy.

Bilateral relations

The two countries established diplomatic relations in 1974. Australia has an Honorary Consul in Panama. Australia's Ambassador to Mexico holds non-resident accreditation to Panama. Panama opened an embassy in Australia in 2018 and has a Consulate-General, headed by an Honorary Consul, in Sydney.

Australia and Panama both participate in the Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC) and the WTO Trade in Services Agreement negotiations. Australia is an observer of the Central American Integration System (SICA).

Foreign relations

Panama is a member of the Organisation of American States, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Central American Integration System (SICA). It is an observer of the Pacific Alliance and has FTAs in force or under negotiation with all Alliance members. Panama remains interested in becoming a Pacific Alliance member or associate member.

In 2017, Panama cut ties with Taiwan and switched its recognition to the People's Republic of China.

Foreign Policy White Paper

Fast facts

  • Panamanian visitors to Australia (2018) – 600
  • Australian visitors to Panama (primary destination 2018) – 1000
  • Resident Australian population born in Panama (2016) – 200
  • Panamanian students in Australia (2018) – 20

High level engagement

2017

  • June – Former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, visited Panama.
  • May – Australia's Special Envoy for Human Rights, Philip Ruddock, visited Panama.

Public diplomacy

Through the Direct Aid Program, the Australian Government provides financial support to a range of projects in Panama. In 2017-18, the Direct Aid Program supported projects that strengthened the rights of women and girls.

In 2001, the Australian Government established the Council on Australia-Latin America Relations (COALAR), which aims to enhance commercial, political and cultural relations between Australia and Latin America. Since its inception, COALAR has been active in promoting business, education, tourism and cultural links between Australia and Latin America.

Under the previous Endeavour Mobility Grants and Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships programs, one Panamanian was offered the opportunity to undertake study, research and professional development in Australia and one Australian was offered the opportunity to undertake a study experience in Panama.

Economic diplomacy

Further economic and trade information can be found in our Economic Factsheet for Panama.

Business

Panama's impressive economic growth over the past few years will likely be sustained by the increased capacity of the Panama Canal and its role as a regional financial services hub. Australian interests in the mining and technology sectors have taken advantage of favourable commercial conditions and established operations in Panama.

Travel

See Smartraveller for information on travelling to Panama.

Australian Embassy in Mexico

Ruben Dario 55
Col. Polanco
Mexico City 11580
Tel: 52-55-11012200
General: australianembassy.mexico@dfat.gov.au
Facebook: Australia en México, Centroamérica, Cuba y República Dominicana
Twitter: @AusEmbMex

Last Updated: 30 April 2019
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