The world is a small place indeed. In February while attending Expocomer, I almost literally ran into three Panamanian businessmen who are some of the first acquaintances I made on behalf of Panama Gateway back in 2004. To put how unual that reunion was, Expocomer is the leading trade and industry show in Panama City, Panama. This year it attracted more than 650 exhibitors from 37 countries. I had the honor of being there at the invitation of ProInvex, the Panamanian government’s agency for investment and export promotion of Panama, a concierge service that provides information to facilitate foreign direct investment in Panama.
In any field of business, showing up, shaking hands and breaking bread are essential to a solid relationship. Beginning in the summer of 2017, Panama Gateway Executive Director Sandy Champion and I cumulatively have made five business trips to Panama and held two dozen meetings with Panamanian business leaders and government officials. The purpose of these meetings has been to strengthen and establish relationships inside Panama.
Building and enhancing the relationships we have forged in these meetings furthers Panama Gateway’s goal of building an integrated network of business associates in both Panama and the United States and to other countries where Panama Gateway’s network leads.
Nowhere is this better illustrated than with the collaborative relationship we have established with the international accounting firm RSM. Our Treasurer, Jill Fitzgerald, is in RSM’s Atlanta office where she is a senior manager for tax services. Through her introduction, Panama Gateway is now strategically partnered with RSM-Panama, which provides our business partners with a tremendous source of information and knowledge inside Panama.
Other highlights of the trips Sandy and I have made to Panama include:
• Expanded collaboration with RSM-Panama.
• Strengthened ties with: Proinvex; Panama Pacifico, a 3,450-acre global business hub and master-planned community of up to 20,000 homes; the Georgia Tech Logistics Innovation & Research Center in Panama, dedicated to applied research, education and competitiveness that is strategically aimed at improving Panama’s logistics performance and facilitating the development of trade and logistics capabilities; the Panama Canal Authority; and Atlasbank, a Panama-based bank that is a global leader in finance for institutions and individuals. Its ability to provide local banking services to companies in Panama Gateway’s network is a valuable resource.
• Established a new collaboration with WTC-Panama.
• Renewed cooperation with PanAmCham, U.S. Commercial Services and the U.S.Embassy
Each one of these efforts leads to a better understanding of the needs and capabilities of Panama Gateway and entities in Panama that are critical to the work of Panama Gateway in fulfilling its mission. Panama Gateway and our supporters are all rowing in the same direction and leveraging our strengths to efficiently market Panamanian opportunities.
Moving forward, more business trips are planned with greater web-based cross-marketing with our collaborators. The future looks bright, and the opportunities for growing Panama Gateway’s presence and influence around the globe are boundless.
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