Paris, France (18 May 2016)– Luis Miguel Hincapie, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Panama, met today with France’s Presidential Special Appointee for Latin America and the Caribbean, Jean-Pierre Bel. During the meeting in Paris, the Panamanian diplomat emphasized the importance of working under equal conditions to solve the differences between both nations through diplomatic means, to advance the bilateral agenda, and to cooperate effectively on tax issues, without the pressure of being part of a discriminatory list.

Vice Minister Hincapie shared the steps that Panama has taken to reform its legal framework, to strengthen its service center, and to shield it against illegal tax and financial activities. Additionally, he stated that Panama is currently enhancing its capacities to fulfill the existing agreements with France.

“Panama is willing to continue working to improve effectiveness in tax cooperation with the international community, and to continue negotiating agreements about this matter. But we do not think that it is positive that friendly countries such as France insist on not recognizing our efforts and the progress that we have made, taking into account every aspect of our bilateral relationship,” said Hincapie.

He also emphasized the importance of the French investments in Panama and the interest in continuing this relationship expressed by companies in France, as shown by the visit of Vice President Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado last October.

“During the meeting of Vice President de Saint Malo with the then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Laurent Fabius, it was agreed that we would advance on a mutually beneficial bilateral agenda, including tax cooperation. This would be very difficult if we are part of the non-cooperating countries for tax purposes,” Vice Minister Hincapie added.