September 01, 2008. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has recently reported that Panama was one of the fastest growing economies in the world last year, despite the deteriorating global economic environment.

Following latest IMF's Article IV assessment of Panama's economy, the International Monetary Fund has reported that the country's GDP grew by 11.2% in 2007, while average growth rate was about 8% in 2004-2006. The Fund stated that the economic growth of Panama has been driven by its large service industry (that includes the canal, the Colon Free Zone, and ports) and that Panama has significantly benefited from expansion in regional and international trade. According to the report, Panama's well-developed financial centre has quickly reacted to new opportunities and attracted new investment.

It is also worth noting that, according to the IMF predictions, the impact of high oil prices and the slowing down of the US economy will have an inevitable impact on the economy of the jurisdiction in 2009. However, the IMF expects that economic growth will still be approximately 8%.

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July 5, 2008. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Seventh Annual Regional Conference on Central America, Panama and Dominican Republic. At the conference, it has been examined how globalization and economic integration influences tax structures of Central America. The conference included IMF staff, regional banking industry officials and finance ministers.

It was noted in a concluding statement that tax structures in the region had evolved very substantially in recent years.

Finance ministers said that a number of steps had been taken at the regional level in order to strengthen regional collaboration on tax issues. This collaboration included collaboration through systematic exchanges of information, rules on transfer pricing and thin capitalization, an inventory of investment incentives, and a model of double taxation agreement (DTA).

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March 14, 2008. According to this week's reports, the President of Mexico Felipe Calderon has initiated talks with Panama regarding a free trade agreement that has been awaited for a long time. Mr Calderon had given Mexican officials permission to finalize discussions with Panama.

It is worth indicating that the discussions have been ongoing for more than a decade and it is a good news that they are going to get back on track. The finalization of the free trade deal has been delayed due to concerns over the strength of Panama's anti-money laundering legislation expressed by the Mexican side.

In recent years, Panama has made a progress in the area of free trade agreements. The agreements with Singapore, Taiwan, Chile and Costa Rica and the United States have already been set up.

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February 29, 2008. Panama's long-term sovereign credit rating has been raised by ratings agency 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.

As the economy of Panama has been enjoying record growth that was estimated at 10% in 2007 and averaged 6.5% since 2002, Standard and Poor's decided to affirm its "stable" outlook for the country and its "B" rating for the short-term sovereign credit rating.

It goes without saying that the Panama Canal and its multi-billion expansion programme is the main driver of Panama's economic growth, however, the international ratings agency noted that the economy of Panama has successfully diversified in recent years, and now such sectors as port logistics, tourism, and high-end construction are also making an increasing contribution to the overall economy.

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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.