Luis Hall, president of the U.S.-Panama Business Council Southeast chapter, discusses an upcoming trade conference in Atlanta.

Panama‘s minister of commerce, Roberto Henriquez, and its ambassador to the U.S., Jaime Aleman, are expected to attend a trade conference in Atlanta April 28-30.

“The beauty of this conference is that we’re going to bring Panama to you,” said Luis Hall, president of the United States-Panama Business Council, Southeast chapter, which is sponsoring the conference.

A 25-member Panamanian delegation is expected to attend along with representatives from U.S.based companies that do business in Panama, such as Procter & Gamble Co. and computer-maker Dell Inc., said Mr. Hall, a certified management consultant who was born in Panama.

There will be a reception for the Panamanian delegation at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on April 28, followed by two days of seminars at the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Mr. Henriquez will discuss Panama’s five-year economic plan and the potential it presents for projects involving logistics, tourism, agriculture and finance. There will also be a dinner April 29 at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

On Friday morning, April 30, corporate sponsors of the event will be allowed to have one-on-one meetings with Mr.  Henriquez and Jose Domingo Arias, vice minister of commerce.

A country of 3.3 million people, Panama has an economy that revolves around the Panama Canal, banking, tourism and other service-related sectors. 

Its currency is directly tied to the U.S. dollar, which creates a stable business environment for U.S. investors, Mr. Hall said. With a flight time of less than four hours from Atlanta, Panama is a much more convenient than many other business locations, he added.  

A $5 billion expansion of the Panama Canal is currently underway, and a representative from the Panama Canal Authority is scheduled to attend the Atlanta seminar.

Panama is also building a $1 billion rail system in the capital, Panama City, and representatives from the rail project are expected to attend the Atlanta conference, said Mr. Hall.

Rafael Flores, general manager of the Tocumen International Airport in Panama City is expected to attend as is Leopoldo Benedetti, general manager of the Colon Free Zone, where a wide variety of consumer goods are sold at wholesale for distribution in Latin America.

Another large project in Panama involves development of the former U.S. military base, Howard Air Force Base, into an office, residential and retail complex.

The United States-Panama Business Council wants to make sure that there is more than a fleeting impact from the conference.

There are tremendous opportunities but after the conference what happens when everyone goes back to their place of work?asked Mr. Hall.  “We are positioned to follow up with those companies who are interested in doing business with Panama.”

For more on the conference, call Mr. Hall at (404) 459-5919. For online registration, click here.