Augusto Arosemena

Minister Augusto Arosemena (Image: Joel Chang)


Recap: Panama City 2016 – Beyond the Canal, Logistics as an Engine of Growth

By Elizabeth Gonzalez , Pablo Medina Uribe , Holly K. Sonneland and Carin Zissis

With the recent Panama Canal expansion, the isthmus country is primed to become a global shipping hub.


  • Augusto Arosemena, Minister of Commerce and Industry
  • Dulcidio de la Guardia, Minister of Economy and Finance
  • Miguel Bolinaga, Country Manager, AES Panama
  • Juan Carlos Croston, Vice President, Marketing and Corporate Affairs, Manzanillo International Terminal
  • John D. Feeley, U.S. Ambassador to Panama
  • Joseph Fidanque III, General Manager, Tocumen International Airport
  • Emanuel Arturo González-Revilla, Panamanian Ambassador to the U.S.
  • Leo González, Administrator, Agencia Panama Pacifico
  • Irvin A. Halman, General Administrator, National Authority of Government Innovation
  • Daniel Korn, Director of Corporate Affairs, Microsoft Latin America
  • Humberto López, Director for Central America, The World Bank
  • Manuel A. Orillac, Partner, Capital Markets and Mergers & Acquisitions Groups, Shearman & Sterling
  • Susana Pinilla, Representative Director in Panama, CAF – Development Bank of Latin America
  • Francisco Rios, Centre Director, IE Singapore
  • Gustavo Ripoll, Executive Director for Central America and the Caribbean, Dell
  • Isaac Suarez, Country Director, Telefónica Panamá
  • Mauricio Tarazona, Head of Treasury & Trade Solutions, Citi Panama
  • Rommel Troetsch, President, Camara Maritima de Panama
  • Ricardo Ungo, General Manager of Business Development, Panama Canal Authority
  • Eric Farnsworth, Vice President, Americas Society/Council of the Americas
  • Ragnhild Melzi, Vice President, Americas Society/Council of the Americas

Panama is more than a shipping point; it’s a global trading hub on par with Singapore or the Netherlands. AS/COA Vice President Randy Melzi presented this vision for the country during opening remarks at the 2016 Latin American Cities conference in Panama City. Key to realizing that vision is the isthmus country’s transportation and logistics sector, which is already healthy: it averaged 8.9 percent annual growth in the past five years—a full 18 percent of total GDP in 2015. Melzi lauded the country’s efforts to improve mobility in the capital city by expanding its metro line. “A country can’t really be productive if its workforce has to sacrifice sleep and family time getting around traffic problems,” she said. Amid global and regional uncertainty, the Panama Canal expansion is an example of Latin America growing and adapting to the global context, and doing away with decades of confrontational ideologies.

In a show of complementary ideologies, the ambassador of Panama to the U.S., Emanuel Arturo González-Revilla, and his U.S. counterpart, John D. Feeley, were up next in a conversation with AS/COA Vice President Eric Farnsworth. The United States sees Panama as “almost the perfect crystallization of a democratic partner committed to open markets,” said Feeley, who reiterated more than once his goal to have his country be the number one source for Panamanian foreign direct investment.