November 19, 2007. Recently, a new law was passed by Panama's National Assembly to give multinational companies that perform certain tasks a significant tax break. According to the Knightsbridge Investment Group, company specialising in investment property in Panama, the country's real estate sector is expected to experience an unprecedented boost as a result this law.

According to the Knightsbridge Investment Group, the new legislation is to encourage the establishment of multinational companies in Panama as well as give exemption to multinationals from the payment of income tax in Panama for services provided to any entity domiciled outside the offshore jurisdiction. Also, in accordance with the new rules, licensed corporations are allowed to hire trusted foreign employees in order to fill management positions in the company and authorize them to work in Panama, which could encourage many international professionals to move to Panama.

Knightsbridge Investment Group says that Panama's greatest economic asset, the Panama Canal, has been one of the factors to underpin the jurisdiction's real estate market, and the new legislation will stimulate an unprecedented boost in the real estate sector.

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September 17, 2007. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has announced completing a Trade Policy Review of Panama and published the results of the review.

In accordance with the WTO, the jurisdiction maintains an essentially liberal trade and investment regime with relatively low tariffs and few non-tariff barriers, which accord to the role played by trade in Panama's economy.

The report stated, "Panama's service-oriented economy acts as an international hub for activities such as maritime transport, distribution services, and banking. In contrast, the production of a number of agricultural and manufactured goods receives assistance through border protection and fiscal incentives, some contingent upon exportation."

The report suggested that such reforms as the rationalization of assistance programmes and the simplification of the trade regime would help Panama to be a better supplier of international services and sustain the robust economic growth that could be observed in recent years.

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August 22, 2007. Economic growth in Panama is expected to exceed last year's 8.1% because of a strong investment climate, a dynamic services sector and the Panama Canal expansion programme.

Moody's, the international ratings agency, stated that "a dynamic service sector that has served to shield the economy from the volatility observed in other countries in the region, and by a favourable debt profile" supports Panama's Ba1 foreign currency government bond rating and stable outlook.

Moody's analyst senior Alessandra Alecci said that key contributors to Panama's economic growth are the strong performance of services' exports including tourism, investment activity, domestic consumption as well as preparation of the Panama Canal expansion.

Moody's observed that, following the 2005 tax reform, the non-financial public sector deficit has turned into surplus for the 1st time in a decade.

In 2006, the jurisdiction's construction sector grew by 17.4%, the banking sector grew by 12.8%, the hotel and restaurant sector grew by 12.5%, while external trade grew by 11.3%.

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July 3, 2007. The Trade Promotion Agreement has been signed by Panama and the United States. The comprehensive trade agreement has been signed by Panamanian Minister of Commerce and Industry Alejandro Ferrer and US Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab to eliminate tariffs and other barriers to the trade in goods and services between Panama and the US.

According to Ambassador Schwab, the signing signifies the beginning of a new era in still evolving commercial partnership between the two countries that for more than a century "have been joined by bonds of shared values, community, and friendship". She also commented that this Trade Promotion Agreement is to promote increased economic growth and prosperity for both countries. It will generate significant economic opportunities for the US, and serve as a catalyst to further develop and diversify the economy of Panama.

According to Panamanian Minister Ferrer, the agreement reinforces the shared vision of Panama and the US that trade can be a major tool for both economic and social growth. He also highlighted that it will create important opportunities as well as new jobs, particularly for small and medium companies in Panama. Also the agreement is expected to promote entrepreneurship, innovation and competition needed to lead in the economy of the 21st century.

The Trade Promotion Agreement will eliminate tariffs on United States exports to Panama. It will also secure permanent duty-free access for exports from Panama to the US. Then, it will aid to support democratic and economic reforms carried out by Panama's leaders, which is important to encourage investment and enhance the transparency of regulation.

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March 21, 2007. The public hearing that was held last week by the Panama Canal Authority in the Ascario Arosemena Auditorium in Balboa concerned restructuring the Panama Canal's pricing system and some other regulations.

In the period from February till March 2007 the official proposal to participate in the meeting was made to all interested parties, and the ACP received 21 written submissions, both from groups and individuals. Prior to this, informal consultations were conducted by the ACP with customers and the maritime industry representatives.

The comments received during the official consultation period by the Board of Directors of the Panama Canal Authority will be reviewed, and its recommendations will be submitted for approval to the Cabinet Council of the Republic of Panama.

The planned changes proposed by the ACP include: changes in Maximum Displacement Draft vs. Arrival Draft, some administrative changes including necessary clarifications to the document or reinserting missing words to processes and procedures. Also, the ACP proposes an assessment of tolls based on maximum passenger capacity.

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January 11, 2007. Panama banks Banco General and Banco Continental have come to the agreement to merge. This merger will create one of the largest financial services companies in the region.

In accordance with a filing with the Panama Stock Exchange, the parent companies of the 2 banks will merge to create BG Financial Group Inc. Their parent companies are Empresa General de Inversiones, owner of Banco General, and Grupo Financiero Continental, owner of Banco Continental. Empresa General de Inversiones will own 61% and Grupo Financiero Continental will own the remaining 39% of the new company.

The new group will control assets of about USD 7 billion.

The merger is expected to close during 2007.

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30/09/2006
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01/09/2008
The IMF has reported that Panama was one of the fastest growing economies in the world last year.
22/08/2008
Cable & Wireless has announced that its principal operations in the Channel Islands, the Caribbean, Panama, Macau, and Monaco are expected to invest more than USD 400 million in Caribbean telecommunications development.
05/07/2008
The IMF concluded the 7th Annual Regional Conference on Central America, Panama and Dominican Republic and examined how globalization and economic integration is impacting Central America's tax structures.
14/03/2008
The President of Mexico Felipe Calderon has initiated talks with Panama regarding a free trade agreement that has been awaited for a long time.
29/02/2008
Panama's long-term sovereign credit rating has been raised by Standard and Poor's to BB+ from BB. This new rating is based on strong economic growth of Panama and continued improvement in fiscal health of its government.
19/11/2007
Recently, a new law was passed by Panama's National Assembly to give multinational companies that perform certain tasks a significant tax break. As a result, according to a company specialising in investment property in Panama, the country's real estate sector is expected to experience an unprecedented boost.
19/09/2007
The WTO has announced completing a Trade Policy Review of Panama and published the results of the review. The report suggested that the rationalization of assistance programmes and the simplification of the trade regime would help Panama to sustain the economic growth.
22/08/2007
Economic growth in Panama is expected to exceed last year's 8.1% because of a strong investment climate, a dynamic services sector and the Panama Canal expansion programme.
03/07/2007
The Trade Promotion Agreement has been signed by Panama and the United States to eliminate tariffs and other barriers to the trade in goods and services between Panama and the US.
21/03/2007
The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) held a public hearing in Balboa, Panama, with the participation of fourteen representatives from shipping and government.
11/01/2007
Panama banks Banco General and Banco Continental have come to the agreement to merge. This merger will create one of the largest financial services companies in the region. The merger is expected to close during 2007.
07/11/2006
Panama hopes to become Argentina's replacement on the UN Security Council after Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC) of the UN Security Council delayed as far as some English-speaking Caribbean members were reportedly upset about not being adequately involved in this process.
08/09/2006
At a meeting of Panama's President and Executive President of the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) agreed that by the end of 2006 Panama will become an 'extra-regional' partner of CABEI. This status will provide Panama with the access of funding of about USD 60 million.
28/06/2006
Chile and Panama signed the free trade agreement that opens up 92.5% of the Chilean economy to Panamanian producers. Now most Panamanian products will enjoy a zero tariff when entering Chile's market.