On June 24, 2019, the first China-Panama Mixed Committee Meeting on Cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) was held in Panama City. The meeting was co-chaired by Li Meng, Vice Minister of Science and Technology of China, and Jorge A. Motta, National Secretary of Science, Technology and Innovation of Panama. Delegates from the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Chinese Embassy to Panama, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Tsinghua University, as well as Panama’s National Secretariat of Science, Technology and Innovation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Institute of Scientific Research and High-tech Services, National Metrology Institute, Koiba Island Scientific Station and other governmental agencies, universities and research institutions attended the meeting.
Vice Minister Li Meng said that STI cooperation is an important part of bilateral relations between China and Panama and that both sides highly recognize the role of STI in supporting economic and social development. He noted that the first China-Panama Mixed Committee Meeting on STI Cooperation was an important effort to deliver on the agreement reached between the heads of state of the two countries following the signing of the Framework Agreement on Cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation between China and Panama during President Xi Jinping‘s state visit to Panama in December 2018. Vice Minister Li remarked that the two sides should take this meeting as an opportunity to identify common interests, determine the direction of future cooperation and strive to achieve in-depth, solid and fruitful cooperation in STI between China and Panama. Vice Minister Li Meng put forward three suggestions for future cooperation in science and technology:
1. The competent authorities for science and technology of the two sides should put in place the joint research funding mechanism as soon as possible and create a favorable platform and environment for mutually beneficial cooperation among industry, academia and research institutions of the two countries;
2. Through people-to-people exchanges in science and technology, building of joint laboratories, science park cooperation and technology transfer, pragmatic cooperation should be facilitated under the framework of the “Belt and Road” Initiative in areas of common concerns, including natural resources, ecological and environmental protection, clean energy and climate change, marine biological resources and diversity, marine pastures and resource development;
3. Promote personnel exchanges and research capacity building between the two sides through the Talented Young Scientist Program and training workshops for research and S&T management personnel.
National Secretary Motta appreciated China’s STI achievements and said that the Panamanian side is willing to engage in in-depth cooperation with the Chinese side in personnel and technological capacity-building, R&D and innovation under the mechanism of the China-Panama Mixed Committee on STI Cooperation, strengthen pragmatic cooperation in logistics and transportation, ocean, biotechnology and other fields, promote the close integration of science and technology with economy, and contribute to the progress of science and technology and the improvement of livelihood in both countries.
Delegates from both sides exchanged in-depth views on the areas and modality of future science and technology cooperation between China and Panama, and specified an action plan for science and technology cooperation for the next three years. The two sides will deepen cooperation in areas of mutual interest through exchanges of science and technology personnel, joint research and improvement of science and technology infrastructure.
After the meeting, Vice Minister Li Meng and National Secretary Motta signed the Minutes of the First China-Panama Mixed Committee Meeting on STI Cooperation.