Weekly Offshore Panama News – Oct. 25, 2013




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Welcome to our third Weekly Offshore Panama News roundup. It was a relatively slow news week for Panama financially, although the government flexed its muscles economically and legally.

This week Panama was negotiating the release of 33 North Korean sailors, held for illegally transporting banned military materials through the Panama Canal. Energy news was positive for the isthmus this week, with the news that the Panama Canal expansion is set to bring Sino-American fuel tankers rolling through the waterway.

Also, we helped to cut through some of the misleading information online regarding the Panama-USA extradition treaty, as well as highlighting our new free to download ebooks. Check them out here and enjoy this week’s digested articles.

 

Shale Overload to Spur U.S.-China Fuel Trade

Panama is already seeing the benefits of the to be completed expansion of the Panama Canal, with Sino-American trade booming. This is reflected in the energy industry, with larger tankers from the Chinese mainland able to navigate the widened Canal and reach East Coast refineries and distribution centers. Panama is abuzz with energy news lately, with both green and traditional industries setting up shop in the capital – this is another heartening continuation of that trend.

“The Panama Canal expansion, slated for completion in 2015, will allow the transit of large tankers and put costs to ship U.S. gas liquids to Asia on a par with deliveries from the Middle East, according to Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. U.S. exports would jump to 20 million metric tons by 2020 from the current 5 million tons, making the country the world’s largest exporter of those fuels, ahead of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Bernstein said.

“The Panama Canal widening is definitely a positive for propane and butane producers in the U.S. who want to get rid of product,” Bradley Olsen, director of midstream research at Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. in Houston, said in an Oct. 17 phone interview. “We’re going to be in a situation where the U.S. is effectively increasing supply on the global market by about 30 percent in the course of three or four years.”

Source: Bloomberg

 

Panama – USA Extradition Treaty

We’ve recently received enquiries regarding the Panama – USA Extradition Treaty, so we decided to help clear up some of the fog around the issue in a recent blog post. In it we highlight why the treaty was brought about, how the law has changed, and where U.S. and Panamanian citizens now stand in 2013.

“In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt signed a treaty with the new country, Panama, for the extradition of U.S. fugitives. The Panama – USA Extradition Treaty provided a list of crimes committed within U.S. borders and jurisdictions enabling Panamanian officials to arrest and to extradite fugitives wanted in the U.S.

The Panama – U.S. Extradition Treaty was a bilateral treaty. That means that in addition to Panama apprehending, arresting, and extraditing persons wanted in the U.S. who have been charged with or convicted of any of the crimes and offenses listed in the treaty; the U.S. will do the same for anyone wanted by the Panamanian authorities and its judicial system.”

Read more here: Panama – US Extradition Treaty

 

Panama to Release Majority of Crew from North Korean Freighter

The Republic of Panama is currently negotiating directly with North Korea over the isthmus’ detention of crewmen smuggling arms and machinery through the Panama Canal. Highlighting Panama’s increased clout as a regional power, as well as its indirect influence through the Canal, the republic’s handling of the affair has been widely praised throughout the international community.

“The Foreign Ministry official said that the other crew members had cooperated, and that all of them had asserted that they had no idea the vessel was carrying military cargo. Two North Korean diplomats have been granted visas, the official said, to travel to Panama and to complete arrangements for those crew members to leave the country.

The July seizure of the freighter, the 450-foot Chong Chon Gang, near the Panama Canal caused a spat between Panama and North Korea and Cuba, one of the few countries that enjoy cordial relations with the isolated North Korean government. The seizure shed light on the clandestine maritime trading practices of North Korea, hobbled by United Nations sanctions over its nuclear weapons and proliferation activities.”

Source: New York Times

 

Commemorating the 7th Anniversary of 8B-06

Local politicians and leaders commemorated the 7th anniversary of the 8B-06 tragedy, showing support for legal claims for the victims of that fire and for others injured by the “Diablos Rojos” (unauthorised public buses). While the government has compensated some victims, a large percentage of cases remain unresolved. Panama has made huge strides in its public safety and infrastructure, precisely to avoid such accidents as the 8B-06 event which cost the lives of 18 passengers in a fire. Symptomatic of Panama’s desire to further improve its international reputation, the needs of the victims must also be met to resolve what is considered to be a national tragedy.

“The Minister of the Presidency, Roberto Henriquez, said that the existing transportation system continues to advance, to ensure situations like the Bus fire of 8B-06 are never repeated. The Minister commented that “We’re still building, we’re not done.” Commemoration events take place on Wednesday, October 23 anually – Avenida Martín Sosa is painted with blue hearts and the area is closed from 7:00 am to 11:30 am.”

Source: La Prensa

 

Free Downloadable eBooks – Guides to Succeeding in Panama

As part of our round-up this week, we thought that it would be a good idea to highlight some useful guides to doing business in Panama. Written by our team at POLS, these free to download eBooks are part of an ongoing series to help expats and businesses migrating to Panama thrive. They include such titles as –

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!

Browse and download 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.

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