Why Panama – Colon Free Trade Zone, Panama

Most other tax haven nations such as Bahamas, St. Vincent, Cayman Islands, St. Kitts, Nevis, Vanuatu, Bermuda, Costa Rica, Belize, Isle of Man, etc. are simply tax havens that survive primarily on offshore banking and tourism.

Panama is a genuine international trade and banking center that is well known and respected throughout the world.

· The banking and commercial trade industry is alive in Panama with the US Dollar as its’ circulating currency. There are approximately 100 international banks in Panama.

· Low inflation – Panama’s inflation rate has been less than 2% for the last 40 years (although it has been gradually moving higher since 2008).

· Panama’s GDP (2009) is over US$20 Billion. In recent years, the service sector has accounted for over 80% of the country’s GNP. The Panama Canal is also a large contributor to Panama’s overall economic success.

· Panama is at the top of the list of the world’s freest economies, according to Canada’s Fraser Institute (Economic Freedom of the World: 1998/9 Interim Report, Nov. 1998). Ranked eighth with Australia, Ireland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, Panama represents an environment conducive for the creation of companies, jobs and prosperity.

· Panama is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and is a beneficiary of the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI). Panama has initiated formal negotiations pertaining to free trade agreements with numerous countries and regional groups.

· Panama has been ranked first in Central/South America for low cost of living, operational cost and index of labor by the Tripartite Committee, which consists of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

· Political Risk Services (PRS) placed Panama in the top three countries of the hemisphere with the best risk-investment qualifications.

· The Wall Street Journal/Heritage Foundation’s annual Index of Economic Freedom found Panama second in the region.

· Panama’s open economy offers the lowest tariffs in the region, which has helped increase foreign investment in both the public and private sectors. There are more than 40 laws and decrees that offer investors special import, tax, and operational incentives. Sectors enjoying these incentives include tourism, export processing zones, mining, reforestation, insurance and re-insurance, agro-industry, petroleum free zones, technology, infrastructure and construction.

· The Investments Stability Law (Law No. 54 of July 22, 1998) guarantees all foreign and national investors equal rights, continuing Panama’s long-standing policy of providing a foreign-investment environment that requires no special authorizations, permits or prior registration.

· Major companies in Panama include international names such as Dell Computers, Proctor & Gamble, Hewlett Packard, Federal Express, DHL, UPS, Price-Mart, Movistar, Kansas City Southern Railways, Continental Airlines, Copa Airlines, American Airlines, ICA (construction), Cable & Wireless, Digicel, Claro Communications, Evergreen, Hutchinson Whampoa, Caterpillar, and many others.

7. Panama City is home to the second largest international banking center in the world next to Switzerland. Panama has the most modern and successful international banking center in Latin America, with approximately 100 banks from 35 different countries.

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