Panama on the brink of another FTA, Eco-Adventurers set record, and more – Weekly News Roundup, June 6

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Welcome to the Panama Weekly Offshore Roundup. This week we tell you what you need to know before you hire locally. Panama is close to a Free Trade agreement with Israel. Peru is sending tankers to the Canal, and two eco-adventurers complete their record-setting journey. Here’s the latest:

Panama and Israel Expect to Finish Negotiating FTA in Coming Months

After a state visit to Israel by President Ricardo Martinelli last week, it looks like Panama and Israel are ready to do business. The two countries are reportedly close to finishing a Free Trade Agreement, which would open trade not only in Israel itself, but also in the region as a whole. Both economies are strong, and due to the logistical positioning of both, they feel it’s a natural next step in bilateral relations.

“It seems important that the Israeli airline El Al explores the possibility of direct flights from Tel Aviv to Panama,” said Martinelli. That situation would support the Panamanian interest in strengthening the tourism and business sector, which would make Panama a regional hub for operations.

The new trade agreement, which would expand the economic and trade cooperation treaty signed by both countries in 2010, could strengthen Panamanian purchases in the business, innovation and technology sectors. Panama could also increase its exports of products such as papaya, coffee, coconut, and especially pineapple, among others.



Peru Delivers 2 Barges for Panama Canal

One of Latin America’s largest military shipbuilders, SIMA, has completed the last two barges, for a total of four, to be sent to the Panama Canal in anticipation of the new expansion. The ships will be used for fuel, and are just the beginning of a new fleet of international ships that are custom designed to fit the wider dimensions of the new Canal. These ships will launch for Panama on June 19th, and dock there until they can be utilized for international shipping.

SIMA maintains a partnership with the Panama Canal Authority for the construction of fuel-transport barges and tug boats, the Defense Ministry said.

The new barges, which cost $2.5 million each and will leave for Panama on June 19, have the capacity to carry 3,500 barrels of fuel.

SIMA is the regional leader in the shipbuilding and metal-mechanic industry thanks to its cutting-edge infrastructure and personnel skilled in building and repairing low- and high-freeboard vessels at its shipyards in Callao, Chimbote and Iquitos, the ministry said.

Source: Fox News Latino


Eco-adventurers set world record in Panama

Panama is known for its outdoor sports enthusiasts and adventurers, and two Englishmen have taken that reputation to task, for a good cause. This week, two Bristol, UK natives completed their mission to cover both the Atlantic, and Pacific coasts of Panama by paddle board. According to the men, Rob Cunliff, and Aaron Ford, they did it to raise awareness for local nature conservation efforts, and to raise money for an organization called “Seacology.”

The two recently logged 374 miles of prone paddleboarding edging out the old record of 345 miles. Along the way, they discovered two lost manatee populations, survived a night of escape and evasion from drug smugglers, dodged sharks, traversed 11 rivers, dealt with dysentery, navigated around islands, experienced significant injuries, and lived through three emergency beaching’s.

“We chose prone paddleboarding because it’s always the greatest intimacy with nature you can have on a vessel. No paddles, just your arms connecting with the water,” said Cunliffe, a medic and University of Brighton student. “It was a pretty epic mission and by breaking the record it raised the profile of our expedition and the conservation charities we support.”

Source: Newsroom Panama


Guide to Hiring in Panama: What you need to know about local employees

If you’re planning on starting a business in Panama, chances are, you’ll need to hire local employees. For anyone moving/investing in a foreign country, this can be a bit of a task; but it doesn’t have to be. In our most recent blog post, we go over the basics of hiring in Panama, and what you’ll need to know before you do it.

For most positions in Panama, the monthly salary for an employee will be much less than it would be in North America, or Europe. The new federal minimum wage is currently at $624 per month, however depending on the size of your business, there are exceptions. For basic service jobs (waiter/waitress, receptionist, cashier) expect to pay your employees between $400-$700 per month, however, this can vary depending on your type of business, and where you’re located.

Employers and employees pay social security taxes when the employee is paid. Currently, employers pay 12.25% and the employee pays 9.75%. Employers are required to withhold a percentage from each employee’s pay for income tax and for social security tax. Failure to withhold and make payments to the Social Security Office will result in surcharges, fines, and even criminal prosecution.

Read more about hiring local employees in Panama

About Manoj Chatlani

Manoj Chatlani is a Senior Partner at POLS Attorneys, a full-service law firm in Panama City, Panama. Specializing in offshore services, including asset protection, estate planning, offshore banking, and offshore corporations, as well as Panama immigration and real estate transactions, POLS Attorneys offers clients a streamlined solution to all their Panama legal needs. Manoj is a Panamanian lawyer and holds a law degree from USMA and earned a Masters in Communication Law and Panama Tax law.

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