Panama’s independence holidays begin. Panama looks ripe for investment. And, relations with Colombia are complicated – Weekly News Roundup, Nov. 7th.

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Welcome to the Panama Weekly Offshore Roundup. Panama celebrates its month of independence holidays. The time to invest is NOW. And, we look at the complicated relationship with Colombia. Here’s the latest.

Panama Celebrates Independence Holidays

This month marks the start of the biggest national celebrations in Panama. Instead of marking their independence with one day, they do it with 5, and each has its own special significance. The November holidays, or “Fiestas Patrias”, are also a huge time for domestic tourism, and travel, with many Panamanians flocking to the country’s beaches and island resorts.

The celebration comes in the middle of a flurry of Panamanian holidays, including Día de los Difuntos (Day of the Dead, Nov. 2), Flag Day (Nov. 4),  Colón Day (Nov. 5), and a second Independence Day (from Spain) on Nov. 28. In a letter from John Kerry, the U.S. secretary of state said, “The Republic of Panama has much to celebrate this year. You marked the 100-year anniversary of the Panama Canal. Your government created the Panama Bilingue initiative which will significantly increase educational exchanges between our two nations. And you inaugurated a new president after a spirited campaign. … On this day of celebration, I send best wishes to all Panamanians. Felicidades!”

Source: The Tico Times


Investing in Panama: “The view from my apartment says it all”

At POLS, we are huge advocators of the investment benefits in Panama, and offer an array of financial counseling and investment services. But it’s always nice to read some real world examples from other reputable global financial experts, who share their experiences, first-hand on why Panama is ripe for investing, and that this is the perfect time. This past week “Moneyweek” had a great feature discussing just that. Here’s an excerpt:

Unsurprisingly, the handover of the canal has coincided with an unprecedented economic boom in Panama. This isn’t just because Panama has been able to benefit from charging tolls on passing ships, but also because they have worked hard to offer the additional services and infrastructure needed to turn their tiny country into the business hub of Latin America.

They built free trade zones and warehouses to encourage companies to use Panama as a distribution centre. As a result, more cargo is now coming off ships to be repackaged and sent off to other parts of the region. Panama has also developed Latin America’s most connected airport, and its busiest ports. Some of the continent’s best telecoms networks help to make it a hub in every sense.

Panama’s banking industry has 95 local and international banks registered in the country, with assets of almost $100bn. The sector’s total assets are growing by around 10% per year as international firms come to the country.

Source: Moneyweek


Panama Visitors Opting For All Inclusive Deals

Tourism in Panama is in a major boom period right now, and the local economy is eating it up. According to the numbers, most people come to Panama to experience its natural resources, and beaches, and as a result, the resort communities are catering to their desires. What do they want most? These days, it’s all-inclusive hotels.

NORTH AMERICAN and European tourists visiting Panama are increasingly opting for “all inclusive” hotel packages paying a fixed fee for everything.

In the province of Cocle alone it represents 95% of the hotel supply reports Panama America. Following the 2008 global economic crisis, which began in 2008, tourists are looking for a hotel service that allows them to enjoy a more comprehensive service. According to studies by the firm RCI, 50% of Europeans traveling to Panama opt for this service when visiting the country.

Eugenio Macouzet, senior vice president and general manager for the Caribbean at RCI , said that “… studies by the company show that in the country for the last 10 years, Europeans, Canadians and Americans are those who have most consumed this type of holiday product.”

Source: Newsroom Panama


Colombia and Panama Settle Tax Dispute, But Relations Still Not 100%

Panama and Colombia had a pretty tough November as far as financial relations go, when Colombia threatened to put Panama on its ominous “tax haven” list. Since then, they have come to an accord and things have settled a bit. But is this the end of the story, or just the beginning?

 After the announcement by Colombia, Panama sent an official statement to Colombian government stating that they would levy sanctions on them, and even revoke visas for their citizens if they were not immediately removed from the list. If Panama did go through with this, it would have made a serious impact on Colombia, which is fighting to shorten a deficit gap and reign in tax delinquents.

It also would have severely hurt their economy as far as trade. Panama is actually the largest foreign investor in Colombia after the United States, and as has been one of Latin America’s fastest growing economies since 2008, showing a 8.4% GDP growth last year. Making financial enemies wouldn’t only be imprudent it would have been detrimental.

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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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