Panama studies building train to Costa Rica with China

LIMA (Reuters) – Panama is considering building a passenger train to Costa Rica with China, a project that would require an initial investment of $5 billion, Panama’s President told Reuters in an interview, a sign of the Asian country’s growing interest in Latin America.

President Juan Carlos Varela said Panama is promoting infrastructure investment in general and will also auction off a third metro line, with an expected $4 billion investment requirement.

China has become more involved in Latin America as the United States, under President Donald Trump, has taken a more protectionist stance on trade.

“We are doing with China a feasibility study of a 450-kilometer train between Panama and the border of Costa Rica,” Varela said on the sidelines of the Americas Summit in Lima on Friday evening.

Varela also said he expected a $6 billion copper mine under construction by Australia’s First Quantum Minerals to start producing next year, adding 2.5 per cent to Panama’s gross domestic product.

In reference to the US-China trade dispute, Varela said if any country wanted to renegotiate trade agreements, it should do so without generating conflict. Panama welcomed investment from all countries, he said.

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