Panama Weekly News Roundup: March 14, 2014

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Welcome to the Panama Weekly Offshore Roundup! In this week’s roundup, we take a look at the end of the Canal dispute, the uber-cool taxi app “Uber” coming to town, and the first set of commuters testing out the country’s brand new subway system. Plus, Panama is ranked again as one of the cheapest cities to live in, and we annouce the release of our new Panama visa infographic to help you determine which permanent residency visa is best for you. Here’s the latest:

First 150 Passengers Test the Panama Metro Subway

The much-anticipated Panama Metro (subway) is just a few weeks away from opening to the public, but that didn’t stop the preliminary passenger tests this week. This Tuesday, a group of passengers selected by the Panama Metro Secretariat were given the privilege of riding Central America’s first subway system between two of the newly completed stops, San Miguelito and Los Andes.

The tour started with an explanation to the users on how to use the system, payment methods and how to deal with the approach of trains. Then the journey began. Earlier it was announced that the system would be operational in January and February and be free for at least the first month. April was the last forecast for a startup day. And as that comes a month before the elections, it seems a better bet.


Panama Ranked (again) as One of the World’s 10 Cheapest Cities to Live In

For the second year in a row, Panama City, Panama was ranked as one of the world’s top 10 cheapest cities in the world to live in (8th), in the Worldwide Cost of Living Survey, published by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The study, which is conducted twice per year, looks at “…more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services in 131 cities, including food, drink, clothing, household supplies and personal care items, home rents, transport, utility bills, private schools, domestic help and recreational costs.”

“The cost-of-living index uses an identical set of weights that is internationally based and not geared toward the spending pattern of any specific nationality,” says the EIU. “Items are individually weighted across a range of categories and a comparative index is produced using the relative difference by weighted item.”



Uber Launches In Panama

For those of you that are on the go, and love technology, the world’s most popular transportation mobile app has arrived in Panama. Guaranteed fixed prices, security, and real-time updates on where your car is, has launched in Panama this month.

Uber, the transportation app taking over the world, has just launched in Panama. The app allows you to hail an Uber driver based on your location using your smartphone and then the fare is calculated on distance and time it takes to arrive to your location. Payments are managed through your stored credit card and you can even split the cost of rides with your friends that also have the app on their phone.



Panamanian Gov. Claims New Canal Resolution to be Signed This Week

The ongoing dispute between the construction firm and canal authority over the new Panama Canal construction may be coming to an end within a matter of hours, or days. According to the Panamanian government, the two parties have come to terms, and will be proceeding with current construction plans as soon as possible.

The contract may be signed today or tomorrow, Roberto Roy, minister for canal affairs, said at a conference in Panama City. The agreement calls for both parties to contribute $100 million each to continue the work, while Zurich Insurance Group AG will offer $400 million to back any additional bank loans for the contractors in a pledge to “jump start” the project, Roy said.

“The deal has basically been agreed to,” Roy said in an interview. “The contractors and the administrator had a final talk yesterday.”

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

8 Visas that Grant Permanent Residency in Panama: INFOGRAPHIC

Interested to learn more about obtaining permanent residency in Panama? As one of the most desirable retirement destinations in the World, combined with a stable and growing economy flush with opportunity, Panama is attracting foreigners across the globe with favorable immigration policies and visa. We’ve prepared a detailed infographic of eight types of permanent Panama residency visas, and listed benefits and requirements of each.

View the Panama visa infographic here.

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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