This is a tough question to answer briefly, but here goes: Latin America (including Central America) fared better in 2008 than in 2009 in terms of economic growth, since LA countries were not directly embroiled in the problems that took down the US economy. However, because Latin America depends so much on trade with the countries that WERE affected, the global fallout from the crisis did catch up with LA economies in 2009, with exports falling 24% on the whole (though Central America did much better than the rest of Latin America). The last quarter of 2009 showed strong recovery, and projections for 2010 indicate growth of 4.1%. This is attributed to fiscal and social policies to support businesses and households, and reduce the effect of global economic turbulence.
Location: Panama is set in the middle of the Americas. Only 80 kilometers at its narrowest point, it is a strategic location for world commerce.
Area: 30,193 square miles (*** square kilometers)
Language: While Spanish is the official language, many Panamanians also speak English.
Political divisons: There are 9 provinces, 75 districts or municipalities, 5 reservations and 620 corregimientos***
Welcome to Panama, one of the most exciting investment countries in the world. Thanks to a proactive government incentives program and Panama’s unique position in the world, both geographically and economically, there is a wealth of commercial opportunities available which can be fine-tuned to suit your specific goals.
Benefits and Incentives
The Tourism Incentives Law 8 of 1994 establishes a simple, fast and rational process to encourage the development of tourist activities in Panama by offering incentives and benefits to
One of Panama’s consistent attractions has been the safety for foreign investors. Its stable, dollar economy with low inflation and consistent growth has been one of the key reasons private investors and multinationals alike have chosen to invest in Panama.
Trade, services, banking, real estate, tourism, manufacturing, transportation logistics, communication technologies, and many other sectors have found Panama offers them the best advantages for business.
Indeed, more than $5.13 billion in Direct Foreign Investment entered the country from 1997-2003, despite the slight economic slump following the 1999 withdrawal of U.S. forces and personnel after handing over control of the Canal.
Beyond a generally positive economic climate, however, there are direct protections for foreign investment, in the form of legislation to safeguard and attract outside capital.
The Panamanian Constitution:
- Guarantees private property, freedom of investment
Real Estate Law 54 of 1998:
- Guarantees equal treatment of foreign and national investors
- Provides stable tax regimes
- Guarantees the repatriation of capital, profits, dividends, etc.
Law 33 of 2000:
- Offers a special tax regime for micro, small and medium businesses
Foreign investors enjoy the same constitutional rights as residents to private, intellectual and industrial property, and with few exceptions, can own property and do business in Panama. There are laws that grant equal treatment for foreign and national investors, provide stable tax regimes, guarantee the repatriation of capital, profits, dividends, etc, and offer tax exemptions and preferential interest rates.
There are also trade agreements in place that govern the benefits and conditions of investing in Panama, such as the Multilateral Investment Guarantee to promote and protect investments.
A Free Trade Agreement is currently under negotiations with the United States, which if approved would provide even greater fairness for U.S. investors in Panama. Currently, U.S. foreign direct investment in Panama totals some $25 billion.
Nearly half of Panama’s total imports come from the United States, and it’s believed a Free Trade Agreement will help to further stimulate Panama’s economic growth and development.