Weekly Offshore Panama News – Nov. 1, 2013




Print Friendly

Welcome to our Weekly Offshore Panama News roundup. Panama this week was in a celebratory mood, with the build up to Fiestas Patrias (Patriotic Holidays) and news of high confidence abroad in the Panama Canal Expansion. There were some notes of caution though, with bankers and economists talking about further legislation and the rise of the public debt in the republic.

Overall, it was a legislative week for the country – Cambio Democratico proposed and will successfully pass a series of pension, infrastructure and financial laws, and officials from Panama celebrated the further development of the Port of Miami.

We have also included a link to our free ebook, the Panama Business Handbook, for you to browse at your leisure if you are a business owner or investor here in Panama. Check them out at the very bottom of the page and enjoy this week’s digested articles.

 

Panama Banking Heading for Update – Superintendency of Banks

Bankers in Panama are pushing for an update to the banking code to help prevent money laundering for criminal or terrorist activity. This may involve a change in Law 42 and the Criminal code, bringing Panama further into line with banking initiatives worldwide. This will not affect the transparency of many banks but rather the ability for banks to self-assess their clients, as a part of risk management strategies on a national and international level.

“Banking legislation in Panama is outdated and needs to be updated says the Superintendency of Banks. There is a push to adopt new legislation on money laundering and terrorist financing, encompassing the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (GAFI) reports Capital.com.pa

“The new legislation not only implies a change in Law 42, but also changes to the Criminal Code,” said Marisol Sierra, director of Prevention and Control of Illicit Operations at the Superintendency of Banks of Panama .

Among the proposed changes is the obligation of self-assessment by banks and the regulator, the establishment of a national strategy for managing risk, including for the crime of terrorism, among other things.”

Source: Newsroom Panama

 

National Assembly of Panama Adjourns with High Expectations

Panama’s National Assembly Executive will convene in a special session to ratify a number of social, infrastructural, and economic acts and amendments. These include work on Panama’s upcoming Metro system, social and pension changes, and the implementation of the so-called cold chain laws. The executive is able to approve projects directly related to their departments and, under the leadership of the deputy chairman of Cambio Democratico, Sergio Galvez, is expected to pass the legislation within the next few days.

“With the approval of 65 projects endorsed by the third debate, the National Assembly completed its fifth ordinary session (April 30, 2013 to October 31, 2013), under the chairmanship of deputy Democratic Change (CD), Sergio Gálvez. During the last days of the legislative session, the executive is able to approve projects that are part of their badge work, such as cold chain issues, the company that creates the Panama Metro SA, and social plan “120 at 70.”

Source: La Prensa

 

Public Debt Continues to Rise

Panama’s recent infrastructure work on both the Panama Canal Expansion, Metro and roads around Panama City, have helped to increase the public debt in the republic. The Government and economists are confident that the burden of commitments will not weigh too heavily upon the country though, with all investments (especially the Canal) offering swift returns or being necessary changes to help the country succeed as Central America’s 21st century miracle.

“Panama closed the third quarter of this year with a public debt of $15.880 billion. This represents an increase of $127.7 million from the previous month and $1.450 billion from the same period last year. Of this debt, $12.144 billion, or 76.5 percent is foreign. This amount does not include several commitments made by the current administration or the remaining balance of turnkey contracts or liabilities assumed by entities such as Tocumen S.A, the National Highway Company and the Electric Transmission Company. According to the most recent Ministry of Economy and Finance estimates, the debt will exceed $17 billion by the end of 2014.”

Source: The Panama Digest

 

Joe Biden Reschedules Panama Visit

Vice-President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, is now scheduled to meet for talks with President Ricardo Martinelli in November. These are part of the U.S. commitment to the expansion of the Panama Canal, with President Obama in plans to attend the inauguration of the expansion in 2015.

“The White House confirmed that U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has rescheduled his trip to Panama. Originally scheduled for a September visit, he postponed amid threats of a U.S. military strike on Syria, and will now arrive the third week of November to meet with President Ricardo Martinelli and tour the Panama Canal expansion project. In September, the vice president toured the ports of Baltimore, Charleston, and Savannah to highlight the importance of infrastructure investments to accommodate the bigger ships that will be able to pass through the Panama Canal starting in 2015.”

Source: The Panama Digest

 

Miami Digs $663M Undersea Tunnel. Where Does It Go?

Port Miami has committed itself to the $5 billion Panama Canal Expansion with a huge expansion in capacity and infrastructure, including Panamax cranes, dredging and a $663 million underwater transit tunnel to connect road container transport directly from Port Miami to the Interstate. Miami sees the Canal expansion as the prime way to bring transported goods to the East Coast of the United States, with further investment to come. This will bring even more revenues into the Panama Canal and Panama – alongside potential business opportunities.

“A century ago the Panama Canal opened with great fanfare. Now it’s going through a $5 billion expansion so ships bigger than three football fields can get through its locks. That has ports up and down the U.S. east coast vying for the business — with Port Miami investing $2 billion to try and attract the new super ships. Bloomberg Television goes to Port Miami to see four giant cranes arrive from Shanghai and tour the largest bored tunnel in North America now under construction at the port.”

Source: Bloomberg

 

Free Downloadable Ebook – Panama Business Handbook

As part of our round-up this week, we wanted to introduce you to our ebook – the Panama Business Handbook. The ebook covers a number of issues affecting businesses and business owners in Panama, across legal, economic, and cultural boundaries. We provide the hard facts so you don’t have to worry about the stability of your hard earned business. Put together by our legal team at POLS, it is part of a series of ebooks written on specific topics – aiming to provide expats and investors with the information they need, for free!

They include such titles as –

  • Panama Offshore Asset Protection Guide ebook
  • Panama Business Handbook
  • Panama Relocation ebook

Feel free to “pay with a like” by using the social media sharing buttons on each ebook page. We have packed each ebook with detail, providing you with the introductory legal assistance you need for potentially making the decision to make Panama your base of operations. Follow the link to download your ebooks now!

Free Panama EBooks

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, Panama Offshore Legal Services 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.

Like what you've read? Subscribe to our Newsletter.

* denotes a required field
First Name: *
Last Name: *
Email: *

Comments Post a comment