March 9, 2021

The US-China trade war has had a "minimal" impact on the Panama Canal

The trade war of the United States and China has so far left a "minimal" impact on the Panama Canal, where about 6% of world trade passes, said its administrator, Jorge Quijano, on Friday.

"At this time the impact is minimal, but could be greater, and if it does not improve the situation could be aggravated," warned Quijano, in the framework of the act in which he was invested doctor "honoris causa" in Engineering and Technology by the University Santa María la Antigua of Panama (private).

The United States is the main user of the Panama Canal. China was the second until a few weeks ago, when it was moved to third place by Japan, the country that along with South Korea is buying and going through the interoceanic road load of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) American that previously acquired the Chinese.

"This has largely compensated for what we would have lost (due to the commercial war) that would be around a net of 36 million dollars," Quijano said without further details.

Ya Quijano has said before that it is difficult to predict what will be the final impact of the commercial war on the Canal's finances and that we will have to wait until the end of the fiscal year on September 30. But so far it seems to be much smaller than originally expected ($ 60 million).

On June 29, the US president, Donald Trump, and China, Xi Jinping, agreed to a new truce to their trade war, for which Washington stopped the imposition of new tariffs on the Asian country.

On Thursday, China asked the United States to withdraw the tariffs imposed on imports of its products to enable a final agreement to close the trade war between the two powers.

The channel, built by the United States between 1903 and 1914 and transferred to Panama on December 31, 1999, received more than 3.1 billion dollars last year and gave the Panamanian treasury a historical contribution of 1.703 million dollars.

The road connects more than 140 sea routes and 1,700 ports in 160 countries and has as its main market container transport, although the expansion opened in June 2016 has given way to new markets, such as large cruise ships or LNG.

Quijano also spoke on Friday about the water consumption of the Canal and the climate crisis that affects the watersheds that surround it.

He recalled that the Canal uses fresh water that comes from artificial lakes that have a "finite capacity", in reference to the Gatún and Alajuela, built in 1914 and 1935, respectively.

"We have already exhausted that capacity and we have to find another source of water if we want to grow as a Canal and as a country," said the administrator of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP).

On the pending claims between the ACP and the United Groups for the Canal (GUPC) consortium, which built the new locks and is led by the Spanish Sacyr, Quijano limited himself to saying that there are still three international arbitrations and one of them will be defined in 2020

"I do not like to talk about the numbers that (GUPC) claims, because they do not represent reality, so I like to say that there are three pending claims that we are addressing," he said.

The GUPC, which signed the contract for the construction of the new locks in 2009 for 3,118 million dollars, maintains claims amounting to around 5,200 million dollars.

Quijano, who was recognized with the doctorate "honoris causa" for his career in the Canal since 1975, thanked for the distinction and dedicated it to the effort of the workers of the entity.

"Through the 43 years in the Canal I have worked with these 10,000 workers who every day do their best to bring better days, for me it is a recognition of the work they do," he said.

. (tagsToTranslate) commercial (t) US-China (t) impact (t) Channel (t) Panama

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