Ramón Martínez de la Guardia serves as the current Ambassador of the Republic of Panama to the United States of America since June 2022.
In his role as Ambassador, Mr. Martínez has focused on strengthening the bilateral relationship between the United States and Panama, advocating for stronger commercial, political, and cultural ties between both nations. As a result of his leadership, Panama was selected to be one of the seven countries that the United States will partner with to build a more resilient, secure, and sustainable global semiconductor value chain under the CHIPS Act of 2022.
As a distinguished member of the Bloomberg New Economy Trade Council from 2021 to 2022, he coordinated a unique alliance that enabled Panama to host the inaugural Bloomberg New Economy Gateway event in Latin America. The program centered on Latin America’s economic future, with a particular focus on broken supply chains and the lingering effects of the pandemic. Prior to his appointment as Ambassador, Mr. Martínez served as the Minister of Commerce and Industry of Panama since July 2019. In this capacity, he actively promoted the development of strategic industries, expanded local and international trade, and concentrated on the attraction of foreign direct investments.
With a dedicated focus on empowering Panamanian citizens, Mr. Martínez created a Commercial Intelligence Office within the Ministry to provide resources for his exporters to uncover opportunities and benefits within treaties, free of charge. Similarly, he inaugurated the “National Program of Industrial Competitiveness” with its first project aimed at enhancing the capacities of numerous small agro-industrial businesses in different provinces of Panama. His term is marked by his creation of 7 new Free Trade Zones and the establishment of 51 new multinational companies in Panama.
Mr. Martínez played a pivotal role in reactivating the economic resurgence of Panama amidst the Covid-19 Pandemic. This impact was notably realized through the ratification of Free Trade Agreements with three key allies: United Kingdom, South Korea, and Israel. During his term, he also developed a Special Regime for the Establishment and Operation of Multinational Enterprises that Render Manufacturing Services (EMMA).
His groundbreaking negotiations with Minera Panama (a concessionary of one of the biggest Copper mines in the region), resulted in a transformative contract that secured annual benefits exceeding B/.375 million for Panama – more than tenfold previous earnings. This agreement encompasses environmental, labor, and targeted community advantages, showcasing his dedication to holistic progress and economic innovation.
With a strong academic foundation, Mr. Martinez earned his Law and Political Science Degree from the Santa María la Antigua Catholic University in Panama, followed by a Master of Business Law from the University of Minnesota Law School.
As a distinguished lawyer with over 18 years of expertise in Commercial and Corporate Law, Mr. Martínez has provided guidance to countless national and international companies spanning an ample commercial portfolio. His practice has primarily targeted retail trade, wholesale trade, representation of global brands, special economic regimes, real estate, and the financial sector.
Ambassador Ramón Martínez de la Guardia currently lives in Washington D.C. with his wife, María Alejandra Cargiulo, and their two children.