Panama City: A major business summit to boost trade and investment ties between the UAE and Latin America and Caribbean countries got underway in Panama City on Tuesday with Dubai Chamber announcing the opening of a representative office in Mexico City later this year.

“We are excited to announce the opening of a fourth representative office in Mexico later this year to boost ties between Dubai and Latin American countries,” said Majid Saif Al Ghurair, chairman of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, during his opening speech at the Global Business Forum Latin America.

The new office will be the fourth for Dubai Chamber in Latin America following the opening of offices in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sao Paulo, Brazil and Panama City in Panama.

“Ties between Latin America and Dubai are expanding and there are many sectors where cooperation can be strengthened.”

More than 400 Latin American companies are registered with Dubai Chamber, he added.

Speaking at the forum Juan Carlos Varela, President of Panama, highlighted the close cooperation between the UAE and Panama in promoting trade between the two countries.

“We are looking at diversification of activities around Panama Canal to boost investment climate in the country.”

“Our economy is strong with 4.4 per cent in growth in 2018 and inflation remains lower. Panama is one of the fastest growing economies in the region.”

Top executives, heads of state and ministers from different countries in Latin America are taking part in the two-day Global Business Forum Latin America being organised by Dubai Chamber in partnership the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

Currently, Dubai’s trade with Latin America is dominated by imports from Latin American countries which amounted to Dh22.8 billion in 2018, accounting for 92 per cent of bilateral trade during the same year, Dubai Chamber said last week.

Brazil, Mexico and Peru remain the Dubai’s top trading partners within the region, with total exports from these three markets reaching Dh5.6 billion, Dh3.8 billion and Dh1.7 billion in 2018, respectively.

Dubai’s exports to Latin American countries has also been growing in recent years with over 100 per cent year-on-year growth in volume in 9 countries including Paraguay, Argentina, Guatemala, and Brazil, among others. More than 400 Latin American companies are registered with Dubai Chamber.