Tourism is seen as a rough diamond by investors, who also include the logistics area as spearhead
"Panama is an international leader in business attraction," Augusto Arosemena, Panama's industry and commerce minister, wrote on March 8 through his official Twitter account (@A_AROSEMENA_M). The official accompanied his tweet with a link from U.S.News, a page specializing in news and rankings of various items.
According to the publication, the Isthmus is leader among countries "open to business", surpassing Luxembourg, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, among others. The study was based on four key points:bureaucracy, manufacturing costs, fiscal environment and transparent government practices.
"The world is reacting positively to the new climate of institutional respect, transparency and security in the investments that breathe in Panama. This is a proven fact and the projections for the following years are promising and very promising, "President Juan Carlos Varela told the media in December 2016.
For its part, the Panamanian Association of Company Executives (Apede), believes that the country enjoys democratic stability and a robust financial system to encourage domestic and foreign investment.
"All this combined with the circulation of the US dollar and our geographical position (Hub of the Americas), plus a positive growth economy," said Juan Gabriel González, President of Apede.
What to invest?
The Panama Investment Promotion Agency (Proinvex), attached to the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MICI), identifies agribusiness, logistics, tourism and financial services as strategic sectors.
"There are very prosperous and attractive to invest in the country. Azuero, Chiriquí, Bocas del Toro, Colón, the areas of the Pacific beaches and Rio Hato, among others. These spaces are interesting both for tourism and agricultural investment, "explained González.
A statement from the MICI said that Panama continues to lead the economic growth of the region and also has a logistics hub that offers services for greater connectivity, making it an interesting option for investment.
Data from the public institution indicate that direct foreign investment in Panama registered a 17% increase in 2016 and that in the same period 25 new companies were registered under the "Multinational Enterprises Headquarters" regime.
"The laws of Panama are designed so that foreign investment comes and can do business. However, the Isthmus is a care market as there is very little population and very high volume industries must have a very well designed plan, "said Orlando Soto, director of Stward Corporation, a shipping company for ships, owners, Crew and cargo.
Rafael Burke, of SICARGA, recommended to the new entrepreneurs that they are oriented towards models of businesses already tried. "Type franchises, alliances with national companies with potential growth that increase the chains of businesses. The market is small, but it has its depth. I fully recommend doing a study first and then seeing options. "
Tourism, a rough diamond
During the "Connecting The World" forum, held in mid-March, foreign and national businessmen agreed that tourism is one of the best areas to invest in the Isthmus. The Government of Varela is no stranger to the situation and with the firm objective of promoting this sector, passed a law to create the Fund for International Tourism Promotion.
The ordinance established a trust whose funds will be used to promote Panama abroad as a tourist destination. "This Government is putting the muscle to make tourism a national and social interest priority to diversify the country's economic growth sources and thus alleviate poverty by creating jobs and improving the quality of life of Panamanians" , Closed Varela.
17% Foreign direct investment grew in Panama in 2016.
130 Multinational companies based in the Isthmus.
Advantages of investing in Panama:
Tax, labor, customs and immigration incentives.
First level logistics hub.
Special areas:Colon Free Zone, Free Zones and Panama Pacifico.
Favorable fiscal environment.
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