Eric Dormoi: “We see the Caribbean as a good opportunity for Panamanian products”

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Eric Dormio, national director of export promotion for the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Panama was in Aruba last week, together with his team and some Panamanian business owners, in order to promote their countries exports for Aruba.

Among the products that they showcased are sea products, agricultural, industrial, and agroindustrial products. “We are always searching for opportunities, and we see that the Caribbean is a good opportunity for Panamanian products”, Dormoi pointed out.

He said that they are very competitive with their construction materials, as well as food products – due to the crisis related to the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the war in Ukraine, the world has seen shortages. “We need to fortify ourselves in the region in order to minimize the negative impact, because big countries for example in Asia protect themselves, thus we need to promote ourselves in the region, with friendly ties as well as commercial to help us with tourism, exports or exchange in the free zone.”

They chose Aruba because they consider it as a natural market for Panama, as well as for the tourism sector, in which Aruba’s main market is the United States and Panama. Dormoi said that there are products that they can offer as another option as providers.

Last week took place the event Trade Mission Panama to Aruba at the Renaissance Convention Center. As part of an action plan of the Panamanian Government, they implemented integral programs to identify and take advantage of opportunities in the region. Panama as a logistic hub has the capacity to offer products to their Caribbean and Central American neighbors under demanding standards as well as the option to approach their potential clients.

During the event, different Panamanian companies were present with the goal of exploring new markets, organized in different groups. In the food products group some companies produced flour, bottled water, sea products, watermelon and pumpkin. There was another group with companies offering construction materials, soaps and cleaning products, candles, refrigeration and industrial paint (roadmark).

This was the first time that they came to Aruba on such a mission, and it was also the first time they had an event together with these export companies. “This is a great opportunity because the buyers know already which companies are coming, what products they offer and who is going to be available for speaking. We see this mission favorably”, Dormoi said.

He added that they had a similar mission in Curaçao in the month of March. He said that was “very successful, we had 200 meetings with 50 buyers, and we think we can do the same in Aruba since they are very close and a lot of distributors operate on both islands. We trust that the mission in Aruba will be very successful”, he pointed out.

However, Dormoi said that they need to follow up on conversations with Aruban minister of Economic Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Wever. He mentioned that Aruba does have the need for new options for supply, and they are seeing Panama positively in this regard.

“In Panama we have a lot of experience regarding construction. We are constructing Line 3 of the train, we have experience expanding our Panama Canal, we build bridges and piers, tall buildings, and we can also offer all this to the country’s development.”

Aside from the eleven companies, others also came, those that import fruit for Europe, the United States. They also import wood, meat and other options, according to Dormoi, which can be very interesting to export.

Regarding prices, Dormoi said that they are advantageous. The local buyer needs to evaluate if it is a good idea for Aruba to bring a product for which there is interest. Dormoi said that in his experience, some buyers in Curaçao prefer to buy the Panamanian product instead of a European product due to the shorter distances which makes the shipping more affordable. Another advantage they have is that they can personalize products “designed as per the customer’s requests. All this needs to be negotiated, but regarding prices, from Panama to Aruba shipping is more affordable and there is very good maritime shipping. All these are things that need to be evaluated. I think prices will be very competitive and Panama is a good option”, he said.