Business Opportunities in Panama

  • Expected GDP growth of 6.2%, one of the highest in Latin America
  • World’s second largest banking system after Switzerland with over 90 international financial institutions
  • Second largest Duty Free Zone in the world after Hong Kong generates USD $14 billion in imports and re-exports each year
  • Second-largest registrant for offshore companies after Hong Kong
  • Strategic location with Canal links East and West and over 14,800 ships per annum
  • Ranked within top 3 in Latin America best logistics and connectivity by World Bank
  • Tax exemptions for investments in tourism, maritime, real estate, mining, Colon Free Zone, exports and other markets
  • Strict privacy laws which protect your banking and corporate book information
  • Economy based on the U.S. dollar with no foreign exchange risks
  • Absence of exchange controls
  • Equal treatment for foreign and local citizens
  • No restrictions on companies ownership and foreign capital
  • Flexible Business Law with international acknowledgement
  • First in the region for low cost of living, low operating cost and competitive work rates
  • The Panama Stock Exchange is one of the fastest-growing in the region
  • Bilingual Workforce

Fastest growing economy in Latin America 2009, 2010 & 2011

Panama is a safe country with beautiful white beaches, excellent infrastructure, a modern, sophisticated capital city with every imaginable luxury, hundreds of multinational businesses and most importantly charming welcoming people.

The Republic of Panama, between Colombia and Costa Rica, has a population of just over 3.4m and a land area of 76,000 sq km. The climate is tropical. Panama is a stable sovereign democracy with a presidential style of government. Spanish is the official language but English is a common second language spoken by most Panamanians. Panama's currency is effectively the US dollar, with the official Balboa pegged to the dollar but used only for small transactions.

World’s second largest banking system after Switzerland

Panama has the most modern and successful international banking center in Latin America with over 90 financial institutions from 35 countries represented with estimated actives of USD 64 million. Panama's new comprehensive banking law (Decree No. 9) meets the standards of leading financial centers around the world for transparency and regulation, and conforms to the statutes of the Basle Commission.

One of the many benefits which attract foreign investors are the strict privacy laws that protect your banking information and corporate book information from anyone, including foreign governments and the fact that there are no restrictions on movement of funds out of the country.

World’s Second Largest Duty Free Trade Zone

Panama counts with Colon Free Trade Zone, the largest free zone in the Americas and the second largest in the world after Hong Kong (created in 1948).

  • 450 hectare free zone
  • Houses over 2,500 wholesalers
  • 27,000 employees
  • Receives yearly more than 300,000 buyers from all parts of the World
  • Generates USD 14 billion in imports and re-exports each year

The success of the Colon Free Zone is due to a combination of factors such as the geographical location of Panama at the crossroads of the world, the hub to Latin America, the Panama Canal, the fact that the US dollar is the legal tender, a large banking center on its doorstep, a developed insurance and reinsurance industry and several state-of-the-art container ports.

Favorable Company Incorporation

Panama is one of the most popular places in the world to incorporate due to the fact that it counts with favorable incorporation laws which enables to hold “Bearer Shares”, have directors from any nationality and be able to incorporate Private Interest Foundations. The Panama corporation law was promulgated over 70 years ago and has since been copied by many of the other tax haven nations such as Bahamas, Isle of Man, St. Vincent, Bermuda, Belize, etc.

Tax Haven

Panama does not assess any income tax income produced from sources outside the country, including the proceeds of sales made outside of Panama. This territorial method of taxation is only one of the many advantages of incorporating in Panama.

Ranked top on World’s Best Access to Capital

Panama has been awarded the second position in the ranking of Latin American nations providing better access to capital, surpassed only by Chile, according to the index published by the Milken Institute of the USA. The indicator looked at 98 countries worldwide, 18 from Latin America. The award is based on Economic and International Environment , development of the banking system, development of capital market and sovereign risk rating.

Panama Canal

The Panama Canal is the largest and one of the most difficult engineering projects on earth. The man made canal is 77 km long (48 miles) joining the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. Built from 1904 to 1914, annual traffic going through the canal per annum has risen from about 1,000 ships in the early days to 14,700 nowadays.

However the traffic will further increase with the USD 5.2 Billion expansion of the canal. The Panama Canal Authority is currently executing the project that started in 2007 and is expected to be inaugurated in 2016. The expansion project will more than double the Canal's capacity, enabling it to accommodate ships that are now too large to go through the transoceanic crossway.

World’s Largest Ship Registry

Panama is an international maritime center for banking, insurance, finance and shipping. Over 9,000 large ships and vessels from around the world fly the Panamanian flag, enjoy Panama’s offshore tax free status and strict maritime safety, regulatory and legal protection. Given the clear advantages to ships flying the Panamanian flag, coupled with Panama’s strategic geographical position in world shipping, it is clear why the Panamanian Ship Registry is the world’s largest registry, both in terms of gross tonnage and in number of vessels registered.

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