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Panama: A Country Full of Opportunities

20/01/2017

Excerpt from Panama Means Business 2016/ 2017 edition, series 1

 

The inauguration of the Panama Canal’s third set of locks on June 26, 2016 made world headlines, bringing to attention yet again the importance of the Canal to the world’s economy. Neo Panamax ships, the largest container ships on the high seas, now cross daily from the Atlantic to the Pacific and vice versa, shortening distances and cutting costs. For many of our readers the Canal is the only thing of significance in the entire country, however, Panama is much more than a Canal. The country is full of opportunities, with a healthy economy that is growing year, after year, an anomaly in these uncertain times.


New construction projects like the fourth bridge over the Canal with six lanes and Line 3 of the Metro system which will cross to the special economic area of Panama Pacifico and continue to the western satellite towns of Arraijan and Chorrera, the creation of the Port of Corozal, together with a logistics park plus the Colón Free Port, which will extend the advantages of the Colon Free Zoneto part of the city of Colons, creating a wealth of investment possibilities are some of the engines behind the country’s success.


More multinationals are opening branches here attracted by the incentives legislation allowing them to thrive and expand.


The geographical position of Panama is what gives this country its unique character, its history and a clout which is quite disproportionate to its diminutive size. The Panama Canal is the principal factor. Before that it was the Camino Real and Las Cruces trails across the isthmus– the route of the Spanish conquerors for moving the wealth of the new continent to Europe¸ then the railroad, which carried thousands of adventurers to the Californian gold mines. Much has changed, but the principle remains the same.


The Isthmus is an important gateway to North and South America and a hub of business and commerce, thanks to its comprehensive multimodal logistics platform with ports, railway, modern roads and, of course, the expanded Panama Canal, converting the country into one of the most important players in the region. The country already has Latin America’s most active ports on two oceans (Balboa and Cristobal).

Panama’s aerial hub has connections to 82 destinations in 35 countries, with Tocumen International Airport having the largest number of direct flights in Latin America.


Foreign investors are coming here, attracted not only by the privileged geographical position, but also by the tax incentives, the dollarized economy, the political stability, the banking center, the favorable investment conditions and the low index of criminality that exists in the country.


To be continued.