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ICBC, China's largest bank, will open branches in Panama

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ICBC, China's largest bank, will open branches in Panama

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 19:21

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The Panamanian Government said today that the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), considered the China and the world’s largest bank by market capitalization, will "soon" open branches in Panama.

The Secretary of State Communication explained in a statement that the "next" establishment of the banking institution in Panama is a "demonstration of China's confidence in the soundness of the Panamanian financial system."

The bank, which is listed in Shanghai and Hong Kong, has more than 17,000 branches in China and more than 2,000 correspondent banks around the world.

At the end of 2015, ICBC's total assets amounted to 3.4 trillion dollars and generated profits of 42.6 billion dollars, according to the information offered by the company on its website.

Along with ICBC, the Exim Bank and China Development Bank's banks are also planning to open branches in Panama, the Panamanian statement added, which did not specify the opening dates.

The Secretariat of Communication also said that Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela met on Thursday at the presidential palace with Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People's Bank of China (central), the institution responsible for controlling monetary policy and regulating financial institutions of the Asian country.

During the meeting, Varela and Zhou spoke about the upcoming opening of these branches in Panama and "agreed to work hand in hand to strengthen investment strategies, mutual collaboration and State policies in the financial field," the official statement said.

Panama decided in June 2017 to break diplomatic relations with Taiwan and recognize the "one China" principle, thus becoming the second Central American country, after Costa Rica, to establish diplomatic relations with China.

Panama and China already had an important trade exchange before establishing diplomatic relations, but a remarkable growth is expected when both countries agree to a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which will be predictably negotiated by both countries during the second half of this year.

The Asian country is the first supplier of the Colon Free Zone, the largest free zone in the hemisphere, located in the Panamanian Caribbean, and the second most important customer of the Panama Canal, through which about 6 percent of trade world passes, after the USA.

The banking center of Panama has almost a hundred national and foreign institutions and represents about 10 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). ACAN-EFE



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Giant China bank granted Panama license


Posted 16/06/2020

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), one of the largest in the world’s second biggest economy has planted aother foot in  America's sphere of influence  with   the granting  of an operating license in Panama to conduct business in Latin America, reports the Superintendent of Banks of Panama, Amauri Castillo .

In a resolution of June 12, the banking regulator "granted a general banking license to ICBC" to "exercise the banking business in and from the Republic of Panama," Castillo told AFP.

The bank plans to "serve a regional market from Panama", although it already has operations in Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Mexico, Castillo said.

ICBC is one of the four major Chinese state-owned commercial banks. It is considered the largest in terms of market value in its country and is one of the top 20 banks in fossil energy financing worldwide.

"This represents excellent news, even more so taking into account the global circumstances that we are all experiencing as a result of the covid-19 pandemic, and confirms the confidence that global banking institutions have in Panama," Castillo said.

China and Panama established diplomatic relations in 2017,  and have since signed several economic and trade agreements.

Panama with a dollarized economy, an interoceanic canal, and a financial center with a hundred banks, is seen by Beijing as a springboard to extend its economic and commercial influence in Latin America, a region historically allied to Washington.

The arrival of ICBC comes at a time when Panama has entered the European Union's blacklist on money laundering.

The Panama International Banking Center is "solid" and "is strictly governed by the highest standards" against money laundering and terrorist financing, Castillo said.



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Panama Authorizes Chinese Bank License

Panamanian authorities announced that the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd. was approved for a general license to operate in the local system.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The information was confirmed by the head of the Superintendency of Banks, Amauri Castillo, who explained that the Asian banking institution will be able to operate in Panama's financial center and do business in and from the national territory.

Check out the "System for monitoring markets and economic situation in Central American countries", developed by CentralAmericaData.

Castillo told Laestrella.com.pa that "... Once the Chinese bank is licensed, there is still a whole process to go through in terms of pre-operational preparation."

The superintendent added that "... Initially, the bank will start with an authorized capital of $50 million and its potential clients will be institutional and the banks themselves, which will also contribute, in some way, to providing liquidity to the system."

With the opening of operations in Panama, the bank will have five offices in Latin America, since it has a presence in Argentina, Peru, Mexico and Brazil.

Source: laestrella.com.pa



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