The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announces that the Panama Canal Expansion will be officially inaugurated on Sunday, June 26, 2016.
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Information About Panama Canal Expansion Inaugural Ceremony（English 2minutes）↓：
PANAMA CITY, PANAMA (May 26, 2016)– The Government of Panama announced today the commencement of three major new transportation and energy megaprojects with international investments and partnerships worth over $4 billion. The megaprojects include construction of Central America’s first natural gas based energy plant, Line 3 of Panama’s metro, and the fourth bridge over the Panama Canal. These projects continue a series of massive infrastructure initiatives successfully launched and completed by the Government of Panama as part of President Juan Carlos Varela’s 5-year development plan that has already secured investments of over $19 billion for transportation, housing, basic sanitation and water infrastructure projects.
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Blue-ribbon committee created as part of President Varela’s ongoing reforms to strengthen financial transparency
Panama City (April 29, 2016) – As a continuation of reforms already instituted in Panama, President of the Republic of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, officially announced at a ceremony in Panama City the members that will comprise a blue-ribbon independent task force on financial transparency, including Nobel Prize winning economist and former chief economist at the World Bank Joseph Stiglitz and former member of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering Mark Pieth.
In addition to Stiglitz and Pieth, the independent task force will include:
· Nicolas Ardito Barletta, former President of Panama
· Roberto Artavia, former director of the Institute of Business Administration of Central America (INCAE)
· Alberto Aleman Zubieta, former manager of the Panama Canal
· Gisela Alvarez de Porras, former Minister of Trade and Industry of Panama
· Domingo Latorraca, expert on financial models, risk analysis and financial due diligence
At the announcement ceremony, President Varela spoke of Panama’s commitment to prevent tax evasion, including the many reforms implemented during the Administration’s 21 months in office, and announced the national and international experts that will participate in an evaluation of Panama’s current policies and practices as part of a blue-ribbon task force that will recommend measures to strengthen financial transparency not only in Panama but also around the world. The announcement follows an announcement by President Varela earlier this month to create the Task Force as part of Panama’s commitment to combat financial practices that deprive citizens of funds for education, infrastructure and health.
“The launch of this Task Force takes place in accordance with our duty as a nation to continue making progress on strengthening our transparency and our logistics and financial services sectors to prevent their abuse for illicit activities and for activities that do not further the common good,” President Varela said in his announcement.
President Varela also reiterated that Panama’s commitment to financial transparency began 21 months ago at the beginning of his administration and has resulted in numerous accomplishments including Panama’s removal from the FATFA “gray list” on money laundering and the country’s moving forward in the peer-review process of the OECD. He also stated that Panama would continue to work on bilateral agreements of automatic exchange of information.
“We are pleased that the world is finally paying attention to the global problem of tax evasion and money laundering, and we reiterate that Panama’s ongoing commitment to reform of our logistics and financial sectors from abuse by organized crime, terrorism and other dangers is stronger than ever,” President Varela said in his address.
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Since the discovery of the Isthmus of Panama we have always been a meeting point of civilizations at the service of global trade and the world. Today we are the most stable and with greater growth economy in Latin America. We are the hub of the Americas, which facilitates communication and connectivity of the continent with the rest of the world. Panama is the regional headquarters of more than 100 transnational and we are a country where the law and the legal security, with an economy open to foreign investment and a government committed to transparency, accountability, the separation of powers and the strengthening of democratic institutions.
The massive filtration of documents on corporations of a Panamanian law firm with operations in different jurisdictions, has given rise to a controversy that shows a global problem.
Panama wants to make it very clear that this situation that has been badly named “The Panama Papers”, is not a problem of our country but also in many countries of the world, whose legal and financial structures are still vulnerable to be used for purposes that do not represent the common good of the citizens.
In 21 months of our administration of government, the Republic of Panama has taken decisive steps in favor of transparency and strengthening of our financial system and platform of services, which allowed us to: exit from the gray list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in this year 2016 and move to Phase 2 of the peer review of the Global Forum, with which the international community has validated our legal framework to comply with international standards. In addition, beginning in January 2016 we attended the need to provide certainty as to the identification of the owners of the shares of corporations, as a demonstration of our firm commitment to transparency.
We recognize that we must continue to make progress in our State agenda of that we have set ourselves to shield our institutions, but we are not going to allow this media narrative to define us as a country. Earnest and responsible Governments do not negotiate the adoption of international obligations through the media but through diplomacy, through serious, responsible and constructive dialog.
I have asked Chancellor Isabel de Saint Malo, to contact the member countries of the Global Economic Forum and to reiterate to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) our willingness to engage in dialog with respect to reach agreements that contribute to the economic development of our countries. And as is said in its own motto, our country and our government is also committed to the building of a stronger, cleaner and just world.
The Government of Panama, through our Ministry of Foreign Affairs will create an independent committee of national and international experts of recognized experience, to evaluate our practices and propose the adoption of measures which will be shared with other countries of the world, to strengthen the transparency of the financial and legal systems. We will not only work internally but also lead an effort for the benefit of the rest of the world.
I want make it clear that Panama will continue to cooperate with other jurisdictions as we have been doing both in judicial matters to prosecute offenses that are outlawed in our Criminal Code as well as in terms of the exchange of information to comply with the international treaties ratified by the Republic of Panama.
We reaffirm our commitment as responsible country, respectful of international law and cooperative with the efforts of the international community in search for solutions to this global problem. At this time we ask all countries to make use of all diplomatic channels and maintain mutual respect.
To the Panamanian people, I ask that we continue to work together to strengthen our country and to defend the highest interests of our nation.
The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announced today that the Panama Canal Expansion will be officially inaugurated on Sunday, June 26, 2016. The announcement was made this morning during the inauguration ceremony of the Canal’s state-of-the-art Scale Model Maneuvering Training Facility, which will provide additional hands-on experience to pilots and tugboat captains to operate in the Expanded Panama Canal.
The President of Panama, Juan Carlos Verela, was in attendance at the inauguration ceremony, along with the Panama Canal Board of Directors Chairman, Roberto Roy, and other distinguished members of the Board.
“The Scale Model Training Facility will allow us to continue providing world-class service to the global maritime industry, while guaranteeing safe and efficient transits through the soon-to-be inaugurated Expanded Canal,” said Jorge L. Quijano. “The dream of Expansion will become a reality when we inaugurate the biggest infrastructure project in the history of the Canal and the country of Panama.”
The innovative 35.3-acre training facility features two lakes connected by a channel modeled after the Canal’s Culebra Cut. The new facility features docking bays, replicas of the new and existing locks, gates, and chambers, all at a 1:25 scale.
The facility is equipped with a number of meticulously created scale model Panama Canal tugboats, as well as ships built in France at Port Revel, including bulk carriers modeled after the Nord Delphinus, and a container ship modeled after the Maersk Edinburgh. In addition, a liquid natural gas (LNG) ship will be delivered by September 2016.
The facility features wave and wind generators to provide a realistic, hands-on training experience for Canal pilots and tugboat captains to prepare them for the opening of the expanded waterway. It complements the training already provided at the Center of Simulation, Research and Maritime Development (SIDMAR) through immersive, 360-degree training simulations and courses.
The Expansion Program is currently 97 percent complete. Final testing will be conducting in the following weeks, leading up to the official inauguration of the Expanded Canal on June 26, 2016. More information related to the Expansion opening and inauguration, including media and non-media attendee registration, will be available soon on the Canal’s website.
About the Panama Canal The Panama Canal is run by an autonomous agency of the Government of Panama in charge of managing, operating and maintaining the Panama Canal. The operation of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) is based on its organic law and the regulations approved by its Board of Directors.
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Panama Canal Expansion Progress Update – March 2016, click here ↓
The plenary of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) held today in Paris, France, approved that Panama exits from the grey list of this entity.
During the meeting, FATF confirmed that Panama has the legal, regulatory and institutional framework defined in the Action Plan for the prevention of money-laundering, the financing of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
“This is a triumph of all Panamanians, of a country that worked together, both public and private sector, and achieved the necessary consensus to safeguard the best interests of our nation. This allowed the adoption and implementation of a new regulation which places Panama at the forefront in the field of the fight against money-laundering”, emphasised the minister of Economy and Finance, Dulcidio De La Guardia.
From July 2014, Panama has made rapid advances in the implementation of the 19 points of the action plan previously agreed with FATF to strengthen the systems of supervision and control.
In 2015, during the plenary of the Agency held in October, the Financial Action Task Force recognised the compliance of Panama of the plan at a technical level and approved the on-site visit performed from the 12th to the 14th of January of 2016.
The FATF plenary in Paris was attended by the Minister Dulcidio De La Guardia; the Deputy Minister of Finance, Eyda Varela de Chinchilla; the director of the Financial Analysis Unit (Unidad de Analisis Financiero – UAF, for its acronym in Spanish), Alexis Bethancourt; and the Superintendent of Banks, Ricardo Fernández, among others.
During the IV Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin American States (CELAC) held in Ecuador, member nations accepted the proposal of Panama for cooperation on environment and security issues, specially on the Security Interagency Center for the Americas in order to fight against terrorism and organized crime, as well as on the center to counteract the effects of the climatic change, both with their headquarters in Panama.
Understanding the importance to fulfill the agreement on international and regional level to counteract the climate change, participants approved the paragraph proposed by Panama that encourages the efforts and initiatives in the region with a view to the conservation of the ecosystem and sustainability, as well as the increase of the regional cooperation in response to the adverse impacts of the climatic phenomena, such as El Niño and La Niña.
In addition, the meeting of the Ministers of the CELAC was an excellent occasion to reinforce the bilateral ties and to promote the International Center for the Implementation of Reducing Emissions mechanism from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) , proposed by Panama in the recent Paris Climate Conference (COP21) in France.
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The Ministry of Public Works (MOP) has opened from today until Friday 22 of January the prequalification process for companies, firms, groups (consortia or accidental associations) that wish to obtain the prequalification stipulations for bidding on the Design and Construction project for the fourth bridge over the Panama Canal.
Through this process, companies will be selected that qualify for the contractor selection act for bidding on this mega work, which aims to serve as infrastructure for crossing the Canal for the public transportation systems planned to bridge the city with the West of the Canal. Specifically, Metro Line 3.
To accomplish this process, the MOP will initially invite companies that have obtained the prequalification stipulations to a tour of the project site and an explanatory meeting of technical aspects.
Subsequently, by mid-February an approval meeting will be carried out that will aim to receive inquiries and comments from parties interested in prequalifying for the act of selecting a contractor for bidding on the design and construction of the fourth bridge over the Canal
The objectives of the Project are:
· Build the necessary infrastructure to ease the current traffic crossing over the Panama Canal and absorb future demand for traffic.
· Expand, rehabilitate and improve the high capacity road network of the City of Panama by way of the continuity of the Northern Corridor and the construction of the necessary connections to the city, creating a road network in line with current and future traffic demands.
· Redistribute traffic of the city to the new infrastructure, alleviating the current traffic existing in the South (Cinta Costera and Balboa Ave.) and generally improving the service level of the main roads.
The fourth bridge over the Canal carries a symmetric cable-stayed design with an approximate length between expansion joints of 1118 meters, two towers in the form of an inverted Y, and stiffening in two planes of cables with semi harp configuration. Six lanes for vehicles are included, three for each direction; double rail track with a total width of about 54 meters; and clearance of the waterway over 75 meters to allow the passage of current and post-panamax vessels.
The east tower is set on the eastern shore, near the Balboa port, while the West Tower will be located in a large area of shallow water near the ship channel.
The project consists of the design and construction of all necessary works to connect the Northern Corridor to the Pan American highway through a new highway; it will be a platform that will host the future Metro Line 3; the new highway will connect with the Pan American Highway and its future expansion in the West area.
This mega project is expected to be built over a period of four years, and will benefit an estimated population of 1.7 million inhabitants.
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The Platform 311service is available for the citizens living in Panama and overseas. Through this channel, the citizens can make inquiries and/or transmit a complaint in a fast and rapid way, which will be transferred to the responsable government entities to offer an immediate response.
For the citizens living abroad, please feel free to make the suggestions and comments about the services provided by Embassies and Consulates of Panama through following contacts:
Web page: http://311.gob.pa/registro-de-casos/
Telephone: (+507) 300-2187
This system is a confidential and secure , allowing citizens to follow up, obtain information, and know the status of their requests. Furthermore, it supports the initiatives of transparency driven by this administration.
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