Singapore Foreign Minister Supports Panama Canal Expansion

Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs George Yeo visited the Panama Canal Saturday, September 16. On behalf of his country, he expressed support for the expansion proposal: "The Panama Canal expansion is important not just for Panama but for the entire [maritime] industry – for the global economy.” Foreign Minister Yeo traveled to Panama as part of an official delegation, which also included Panamanian Ambassador to Singapore Eduardo Real. The delegation was received at the Miraflores Visitors Center by Minister of Canal Affairs and concurrent Panama Canal Authority Board Chairman Dr. Ricaurte Vásquez, who briefed them on the expansion proposal and Canal operations.

Earlier this year, Singapore signed a Free Trade Agreement with Panama. Foreign Minister Yeo shared with Dr. Vásquez that, “Singapore is a maritime hub. We live on trade. And the more open the world is to free movement of ships, the better it is for Singapore. We hope that you widen the Canal because it is good for the overall system.” Panamanians will vote on October 22 in a national referendum on the proposed expansion. The project would build a third lane of traffic along the waterway through the construction of a new set of locks, doubling Canal capacity. The expansion will help maximize Panama’s strategic location to become the great maritime hub of the Americas.

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