Panama´s General Facts

Why Panama

Financial:

  • Political Risk Services ranked Panama in “Low Risk” class.
  • Investment Grade (“BBB” Fitch Ratings, “Baa3” Moody’s , “BBB” Standard & Poor’s).
  • Investment insurance and financing from Multilaterals, OPIC, EDC.
  • A strong and well established banking system, categorized as the number one of the region of Central America.
  • A growing and well regulated stock exchange market.
  • No currency restrictions for movement of founds in and out of the country.

Economic:

  • GDP growth of 10.6% - 2011 (Ministry of Finance and Economy).
  • The official Panamanian currency is the BALBOA, fixed at parity with the United States dollar (1 dollar = 1 balboa) since Panama´s independence in 1903. US dollar is widely accepted and of common usage for all domestic and international transactions.
  • Inflation 3.9% - 2011 (Ministry of Economy and Finance).
  • Unemployment rate at 4.5% - 2011 (Ministry of Finance and Economy).
  • Foreign Direct Investment of US $ 2789.8 -2011 (Vice Ministry of Foreign Trade).
  • Free trade agreements with several countries; including a Trade Promotion Agreement with the US.
  • There are no government-imposed price restrictions on most economic activities.

Political:

  • Long tradition of openness to foreign investments
  • Panama has a stable political system with smooth transition of power every 5 years
  • Panama is a Constitutional Democracy with transparent elections since 1990

Legal:

  • BITs with multiple countries securing against expropriation and other risks
  • One of the most flexible corporation laws in the world since 1927.
  • Legal system and structures highly adaptable to family patrimony and assets protection (Panama Corporations, Panama Private Interests Foundations, Trusts, ect)
  • Strict Privacy Laws protecting banking, securities and corporate books information
  • Enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitral awards
  • No restrictions on mergers, acquisitions or joint ventures
  • IP and trademark protection laws

Tax:

  • Territorial based Tax System. Taxes in Panama are levied only to income or gains derived from business and activities carried on in Panama itself.
  • Exemption from taxes for investments in tourism, maritime, real estate, mining, exports and other industries and services.
  • Tax incentives for Multinational Companies Headquarters relocating to Panama.
  • Tax incentives for industries and companies operating in any of Panama special economical areas (Colon Free Zone, Panama Pacific Economical Area, City of Knowledge, and several other industrial processing zones).
  • No foreign exchange risk
  • Accelerated depreciation
  • Exemption from income tax for creditors/banks
  • No restrictions on companies ownership and foreign capital
  • Exemption from import tax on equipment and raw materials
  • Double Taxation Relief with several OECD member countries

Others (Invest in Panama)

  • Panama is rated the second most competitive country in Latin America according to The Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012 of World Economic Forum.
  • 2nd largest Free Trade Zone in the world and 1st largest Free Trade Zone of the Hemisphere. Colon Free Trade Zone registered US$ 10,228,285,000.00 on imports (CIF Value) and US$ 11,395,930,000.00 on re-exports (FOB Value) in the 2011, despite adverse global trading conditions. Comptroller General of Panama.
  • Panama has been awarded the second position in the ranking of Latin American nations providing better access to capital, according to the index published by the Milken Institute.
  • International banking and financial center with a solid and stable structure and regulations.
  • The Heritage Foundation has ranked Panama N° 59 as one of the freest economies of 183 nations.
  • Panama has been rated as “One of the top retirement destinations in the world”
  • Caterpillar, Procter & Gamble, 3M, LG, AES, TOTAL, Roche, Hershey and Heineken are some of the most recent multinationals relocating their Latin American headquarters to Panama.
  • Panama offers an excellent infrastructure for logistic and maritime and multimodal businesses and services.
  • The Panama Canal is the most expedite way to move goods from ocean to the other.
  • The Panama Canal expansion will allow for the transit of Post-Panamax ships, increasing the needs of the maritime and connected services sector.

Others (Live Panama)

  • Panama is the Business Hub for the Americas.
  • Panama is relatively safe compared to other large cities throughout Latin America.
  • Panama has the best public and private infrastructure in Central America.
  • “Panama is the world's top retirement haven”, according to several tourisms publications and guides.
  • Panama is one the best places in the world for bird watching and nature observation.
  • Panama is a great place to visit to visit Indigenous Peoples towns and reservations, experiencing first hand their culture.
  • Panama City is a smart choice for international meetings, convention and incentive travel .
  • Panama has an excellent sanitary conditions and world-class medical care
  • Panama is an exotic destination .
  • Panama has an active night life and world class recreational centers and hotels.
  • Panama is one of the most technological advanced countries in Latin America, with nationwide internet access, fixed and mobile telecommunications.
  • Panama is great place to live close to nature and in environmentally sustainable areas.
  • Panama has world-class fishing, diving, snorkelling and sailing.