Carmen Gisela Vergara

General Administrator of National Authority for Export and Investment Promotion of the Republic of Panama - PROPANAMA

Carmen Gisela Vergara - Member of the Business Council for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

Carmen Gisela Vergara is a distinguished member of the International Trade Council's Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Business Council, serving as the General Administrator at the National Authority for Export and Investment Promotion of the Republic of Panama, known as PROPANAMA. With over 25 years of experience in export and investment promotion, Carmen plays a vital role in driving global trade and investment initiatives for Panama.

In her role at PROPANAMA, Carmen is tasked with attracting investments across various sectors, including logistics, digital, food production, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, energy, and tourism. Additionally, she actively promotes exports from agricultural, services, digital, industrial, and creative industries sectors, contributing to Panama's economic growth and international competitiveness.

Carmen's journey in the industry began with her background in law, specializing in international commercial law and negotiations. Over the years, she has held various local and regional positions, as Minister of Commerce and Industry, Deputy Minister for Foreign Trade and Secretary General of the Central Americas Economic Integration System; which  have equipped her with extensive knowledge, experience, and a wide network of contacts relevant to her role at PROPANAMA.

Throughout her career, Carmen has been involved in numerous key projects and initiatives that have shaped the regional business landscape. Notable accomplishments include her contributions to the customs union between Guatemala and Honduras, trade facilitation strategies for Central America, the development of several investment regimes, and the negotiation of several free trade agreements (FTAs) benefiting Panama and the region.

Reflecting on the industry's evolution, Carmen highlights the significant impact of technology and globalization, emphasizing the role of FTAs and technological advancements in reshaping trade dynamics. Looking ahead, she foresees technology continuing to drive change across all industries, with sustainability emerging as a crucial factor in business operations.

Excited about new technologies, Carmen is particularly interested in smart agriculture, sustainable energy solutions, manufacturing advancements, and nearshoring for logistics. She believes that embracing these innovations will be essential for Panama's future economic prosperity.

For newcomers entering the industry, Carmen advises building excellent teams and staying informed about industry trends and technologies. She emphasizes the importance of addressing setbacks head-on, involving the team in problem-solving, and learning from mistakes.

Outside of her professional pursuits, Carmen enjoys traveling with her daughter to explore different cultures and arts, visiting museums and galleries worldwide. She also finds solace in reading diverse materials, spending time in the ocean, dancing and indulging in classical piano music.

Carmen's dedication to promoting international trade and investment, coupled with her passion for culture and the arts, reflects her multifaceted approach to both professional and personal endeavors.