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(English) Panama: Economic Fact Sheet

Presidency of Panama

Secretary of Economic Affairs

GDP (current):

– PANAMA: $24.3 Billion (2009) / $26.0Billion (2010 estimation)

–  LATIN AMERICA AND CARIB. COUNTRIES: $4,024.0 Billion (2009)

GDP (annual growth rate):

–  PANAMA: 2.4% (2009) / 7.0% (2010 estimation) / 6.0% (2011 est.)

–  LATIN AMERICA AND CARIB. COUNTRIES: -1.9% (2009) / 5.2% (2010 est.) / 3.8% (2011 est.)

Despite lower GDP growth in 2009, it was the second best in Latin America and the Caribbean region.

Main projects to support future GDP growth:

                        i.      Pan Canal Expansion: $ 5.3 Billion investment (estimated)

                      ii.      Metro: 1.5 Billion (estimated)

                     iii.      Heavy infrastructure investment by the government.

Unemployment (open):

–  PANAMA: 4.2% (2008), 5.2% (2009)

–  LATIN AMERICA AND CARIB. COUNTRIES:  7.3% (2008), 8.2% (2009)

Despite a decrease in GDP growth from 10.7% in 2008 to 2.4% in 2009, unemployment increased less than 1.5%.

Inflation:

–  PANAMA: 2.4% (2009) / 2.8% (Jan-Aug 2010)

–  LATIN AMERICA AND CARIB. COUNTRIES: 5.9% (2009) / 6.1% (1ST half 2010)

Public sector debt:

–  PANAMA:  $11.1BILLION  OR  43% OF GDP 2010 (E)

–  LATIN AMERICA AND CARIB. COUNTRIES:  $1,336 BILLION   OR  33.2% OF GDP (2009)

External debt

–  PANAMA: $10.1 BILLION  OR  39.1% OF GDP 2010 (E)

–  LATIN AMERICA AND CARIB. COUNTRIES:  $426.5 BILLION  OR 10.6% OF GDP (2009)

Imports (goods):

–  PANAMA: $15.5 BILLION (2009)  /  $6.1 BILLION (2010 semester 1))

GROWTH: -14.3% (2009), -6.7% (Jan-Jul 2010)

MAIN IMPORTS: Oil derivatives, nondurable consumer goods and raw intermediate goods.

MAIN PARTNERS: USA (27.2%), Costa Rica (4.9%), México (4.6%)

–  LATIN AMERICA AND CARIB. COUNTRIES:  $642.1 BILLION (2009)

GROWTH: -24.7%

Imports (services):

–  PANAMA: $2.2 BILLION (2009) /$1.2 BILLION (2010 semester 1)

–  LATIN AMERICA AND CARIB. COUNTRIES:  $134.2 BILLION (2009)

Exports (goods):

–  PANAMA: $11.6 BILLION (2009)  /  $4 BILLION (2010 semester 1)

GROWTH: 8% (2009), -18% (2010 semester 1)

MAIN EXPORTS: Fish, banana, watermelons, pineapples, etc.

MAIN PARTNERS: USA (40%), Europe (32%), China (4%)

 –  LATIN AMERICA AND CARIB. COUNTRIES:  $692.0 BILLION (2009)

GROWTH: -22%

MAIN PARTNERS: USA (75%), Europe (7%), China (1%)

Exports (services):

–  PANAMA: $5.4 BILLION (2009) / $2.8 BILLION (2010 semester 1)

MAIN EXPORTS: Tourism, Panama Canal services.

–  LATIN AMERICA AND CARIB. COUNTRIES:  $104.0 BILLION (2009)

Foreign direct investment:

–  PANAMA: $1.8 BILLION (2009) / $1.14 BILLION (2010 Semester 1)

–  Growth: -26.2% (2009)  /  56% (2010 Q1)

Industry

Competitiveness rank (world economic forum):

–  Position #53 (2010) #59 (2009), #58 (2008).  134 countries.

We are working on improving Panama’s economic position

Panama canal:

–  Transit of ships: 14,412 (2009) or -2.0 growth

–  Income from operations: $1.5 Billion (2009) or 7.9% growth

Tourism:

–  3.5 Million passengers (2009)

–  Annual Growth: 10.5%

–  Spending by visitors: $1.5 Billion (2009) or 5.3 % growth

Raising Our Investment Grade

–  Fitch’s rating: improved from BB+ / positive perspective to BBB-/ positive perspective

–  Moody’s rating: improved from Ba1 to Baa3 / stable outlook

–  S&P rating: improved from BBB- to BB+ / outlook stable

Strategies to Attract International Investment

Special Regimes to establish regional headquarters by Multinational Corps. (Law 41 of 2007)

–  More information at: https://sem.mici.gob.pa/

Tax incentives:

–  Tax exemption on income, social insurance and educational insurance, when their salaries come from abroad (parent company).

–  Import Tariff Exemption for household goods when a worker moves for the first time to Panama.

Immigration benefits:

–  Permanent Personnel – 5 years visa (Renewable)  

–  Temporal Personnel –3 months visa (Renewable)

One stop shops:

–  The Ministry of Commerce manages three one stop offices to facilitate international trade, foreign investment and starting a business.

Relevant Projects

Panama Pacifico Special Economic Area:

–  designed to encourage free flow and movement of goods, services and funds

–  attract and promote investments

–  generate jobs and

–  make the Republic of Panama more competitive

City of Knowledge: Business, science and technological development park

–  Fiscal benefits: Import tax exemptions, transfer tax exemptions (ITBMS), exemptions on money transfers abroad,

–  Special visas to foreign personnel

–  Affiliated companies with no limits to hire foreign staff.

Population

–  Total today: 3.5 Million (1.8 MM men, 1.7 MM women; 1.8 MM in Province of Panama)

–  Annual growth rate: 1.6%

Social

Human development index rank:

–  Rank 60 of 182 countries (2009) à High Human Develop.

–  Source: United Nations Development Programme.

Education

Literacy rate:

–  95% (General Lifestyle Survey, 2008. Contraloría General de la República)

Public spending on education and culture:

–  4.6% of GDP (Contraloría General de la República, 2009)

Health

Life expectancy:

–  76 years; 4th highest in Latin America (World Health Organization, year 2008)

Quality of Life

Poverty rate:

–  33% (General Lifestyle Survey, 2008. Contraloría General de la República)

Income inequality:

–  GINI of 55; zero= perfect equality; 100=perfect inequality (UNDP Human Development Report 2009)

Environment use efficiency:

–  rank 18 out of 143 countries (Happy Life Index 2009)

Environmental public health:

–  rank 24 out of 163 countries (Yale Environmental Performance Index, 2010)

Homicides per 100,000:

–  12.4 vs. 24.4 average in Central America (United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, 2005)

Political environment

Political and press freedom:

–  1.5 (1= most free; 7= least free) (Freedom House)

Some useful links

Contraloría General de la República (General Comptroller’s Office):

Main reference for most economic data produced in the country. www.contraloria.gob.pa

Ministry of Economy and Finance

Very good source for technical analysis and reports about the economic, financial and social environment in Panama.  www.mef.gob.pa

Ministry of Commerce and Industry

Provides relevant legal information relevant to firms operating in Panama.  www.mici.gob.pa

Multinational Headquarter Companies site:

Provides specific information relevant to multinational companies headquartered in Panama.  Benefits, requirements and permitted activities.   www.sem.mici.gob.pa

One Stop Shops:

Website creation is still in process / To be confirmed by Vice Minister J. D. Arias

Panama Pacifico Special Economic Area Agency

Information about business opportunities and legal requirements to set up business in the Panama Pacifico Special Economic Area.  www.aaeepp.gob.pa/index_ingles.php

City of Knowledge:

General information about business and synergetic opportunities at this innovation center.  https://www.ciudaddelsaber.org/en

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