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Tuesday, 18 August 2020 09:48
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45 years of friendship Panama and Vietnam historical relations

(LLCT) - In this article we will discuss the 45 years anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Vietnam and Panama and also a review of this period of time and how both countries has advanced in their relations. Another important topic that we will discuss is how Panama and Vietnam in these 45 years have shared and supported with votes in the multilateral forums, like United Nations, Security Council votes, etc. Also will provide a comprehensive review of the cooperation from Panama to Vietnam in several topics like for example, economic, cultural, maritime sector, etc.

Keyword:  Panama and Vietnam relation, 45 years of friendship.

Panama and Vietnam are far away by distance, but closet by the similarities in our humble and happy people and in our shapes of the letter S. Different by size but very similar feelings of their people that live in Peace, in comparison, Vietnam has 96 million people and Panama approximately 4 million very different in their customs and heritage, but with a great ocean that unite both.

To celebrate the 45 anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between Panama and Vietnam I would like to compile several important milestones of our relations and our future vision for the future. On August 28, 1975, The Republic of Panama and The Socialist Republic of Vietnam signed a Memorandum of Establishing Diplomatic Relations between the two nations.

In September 1979, the Republic of Panama received the official Visit of, at that time, Prime Minister H.E. Pham Van Dong, making this the first and most important visit made by one of the highest leaders of Vietnam, to Panamá. During this Official Visit both sides discussed the future relationship, and also how the two countries, so far away in distance, complemented each other in several fields.

One of the results of the Official Visit of the Prime Minister was an important point in our relations, because Vietnam, months later was the first country that adhered to the Neutrality Treaty of the Panama Canal on November 6, 1979. This provided us with the strength and decisive action to negotiate and sign the Panama Canal Treaties or The Torrijos-Carter treaties in September 7, 1977 and implemented on October 1, 1979.

During this long and flourishing 45 years of friendship and relationship we accomplished several agreements between our two nations, and for the good of our people.For instance, in 2002, the Agreement on Exemption of Visas on Diplomatic, Official, Consular and Especial Passports that provided an important exchange of visits in both ways and of both governments. Later on, in 2008, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Agricultural and Development of Rural Vietnam was signed. This MOU, provided us with some opportunities to exchange agricultural issues and learn from Vietnam best practices.

In 2012, we reaffirmed our relations with the Official Visit of the Former President H.E. Ricardo Martinelli and the signature of the Cultural Agreement between both countries.

In 2014, Panamá received the visit of H.E. Ha Kim Ngoc, Vietnamese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and we hold the first meeting on bilateral political consultations and on 2016, H.E. Tran Quoc Khanh, Vietnamese Vice Minister of Industry and Trade we celebrated the first meeting of the Joint Committee on Economic, Commercial and Cooperation.


In the middle of 2019, specifically in June 2019, we signed the Agreement of Visa Exemption for Holders of Ordinary Passports and the prompt implementation of the Visa Free Agreement that provided free entrance up to 30 days to Panamanian tourists to Vietnam and vice versa. By doing this we became the second country in Latin America to have this type of agreements with Vietnam.

On our cultural side,Panama and Vietnam has accomplish a long rage of exchanges during these 45 years of relation, for example we have participate on the Hue Festival on the year 2012 with the Folkloric dance group that shows to the public part of our cultural heritage and dances. Also, we participate all years since their creation on Food Festival, organize every year by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam and on the Charity Bazar organize by the Hanoi International Women´s Club.

Another important cultural exchange is our support to the Spanish Department of the University of Hanoi, on giving speeches every year and showing all the different important areas in Panama, like the Gastronomy, Culture, Biodiversity, World Heritage, National Parks, etc. and also different Mola´s handcraft Workshops.

On the economic side,based on statistics of the Vietnamese General Department of Customs of The Ministry of Finance, we increased throughout the years our trade exchange from 74 millions USD in 2006 to 337 millions USD in 2019. With the main products that Panama received from Vietnam such as: oil refined products, clothes, computers and electronic accessories, phones and accessories, agricultural machinery, coffee, frozen fish (filets or entire fish), wood, manufactured wood articles, shoes, plastics and bamboo and rattan products. On the other hand, Panama exports to Vietnam wood, Charcoal, frozen shrimps, beef meat, plastics, iron for recycle, steel and aluminum, and also raw materials.

This access to Panama provides Vietnam the door of the Latin American markets because our country has the Colon Free Zone, the biggest free zone in the Western hemisphere and all the connectivity related services, this provides Vietnam a good platform to export Vietnamese products to the entire continent and vice versa with regards to Vietnam as a window for our product to all the South East Asia markets.

Nevertheless, our commercial exchanges are the most important pillars of our relationship, because both countries can get competitive advantages from position, markets and the logistical sectors. In this regard, Vietnam offers Panama an entrance for our products to all Asean countries for example, Frozen fish and seafood, Gourmet Coffees, Rum and other products.

Panama as a logistical Hub, has looked into Asean countries with a strategic view, because they constitute 10 countries that together are a market of approximated 649.1 million people accordingly with the Asean statistical database of the ASEAN Secretariat. It is also important to point out that a big part of that population is young people and are part of emerging economies.

Another important point that I would like to express is that Panama with his maritime platform provides reliable service to all around the world.  With the total of 98,027 vessels up to January 2020, Panama has the 16% of the world fleet register with our flag. This accomplishment provides a very solid and efficient partner, with more than 100 years of experience in the registry.

Accordingly, to the Panama Maritime Authority, on the first semester of the year 2020 and in spite of all the distresses happening around us in the world, Panama, has accomplish to register 469 new vessels, this represent a steady increase in 4.1% in the registry.

The Government of the Republic of Panama maintains more than 8,000 registered vessels and 120,000 of seafarers. With this among of Panamanian flag vessels, we pay great importance to excellent working conditions.

Also, Panama has accomplished and increased 8.5 gross tons on the total of our fleet, thanks to the experience and the trust of all the maritime companies that helps us to give day by day a better service to the world.

Finally, to our Vietnamese friends, this has been our first 45 years of relations, thank you for all the friendship and the mutual exchanges in all these years and in the more years to come.

Dr. David A. De León S.

Charge d´ Affaires a.i. and Career Diplomat

Embassy of the Republic of Panama

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