Historically, Panama has been a nation whose doors are open to the world and international commerce.
Due to its geographical position as a crossroads in the middle of the American continent, our country has constantly received peoples from across the world. Panamanians are used to treating with foreign visitors, be they businessmen or tourists.
Panama’s economy, the definitive geostrategic country
Different international economic organizations highlight Panama as possessing one of the continent’s most stable economies. It holds a record of more than 20 years of uninterrupted growth.
Unlike other economies in the region, Panama’s specializes in the services industry, its logistical, financial, and tourism service industries representing 75% of the country’s GDP. Panama’s ports are amongst the region’s most important commercial hubs.
Due to its strategic position, the country is almost a forced transit point for a high percentage of the world’s seafaring commerce. This is why, despite its small size, Panama is a heavyweight within organizational bodies like the International Maritime Organization.
In the last few decades, the country’s GDP has doubled. One of the reasons for this growth, according to specialists, is due to its ability to promote a high rate of both internal and external investment, its burgeoning tourism industry, and its logistical services. The country is highly rated as an investment destination by Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, and Fitch credit rating organizations.
Of the sectors in the economy, the (tertiary) services sector is the most important.
Panama concentrates a conglomerate of transport and logistical services targeted towards the world’s commerce, whose epicenter is the Panama Canal and its powerful ports both in the Caribbean and the Pacific, at the endpoints of the Canal. Its shipping ports grow year in, year out.
Amongst its assets, the country also lists a tax free zone, the Colon Free Trade Zone, which is without peers in the Americas, and a veteran player in the commercial sector. A railroad bisects the country, from one coast to the next, running along the Panama Canal’s course, carrying shipping containers from one ocean to the other.
Yet another of Panama’s specialties is its role as the largest airline passenger hub in Latin America, favored by heavy State investment in its infrastructure and aided by the country’s incomparable geographical position.
On top of it all, Panama’s blessed with Latin America’s largest financial sector.
Foreign Trade (Panama joined the WTO in 1997):
Panama’s foreign trade offers: a liberal legal infrastructure for the trade of goods and services; deep integration within the world economy; MFN (Most Favored Nation) treatment accorded to its business partners; simplified tax infrastructure (Ad Valorem); and a forum for conflict resolution through alternate means (ADR).
Almost 9% of Panama’s territory is agriculturally developed. Most of its produce is earmarked for commercial exploitation and destined for export. The principal crops are sugar cane (1.77 million units), fruits (660,000 units, mostly bananas, plantains, and oranges), rice (280,000 units), corn (70,000 units), coffee (13,000 units) and tomatoes.
Livestock: Panama’s livestock population consists of 1.56 million heads of cattle, 286,000 heads of porcine livestock, and almost 15 million units of poultry.
Fishing is quickly growing in import as one of Panama’s main industries. This includes shrimp and blue tuna fishing.
Investment has become the engine behind the growth in Panama’s GDP. Since 2004, foreign direct investment exceeded a billion dollars, a national record. As of that date, Panama has become the regional leader. Within Latin America, only Chile exceeds Panama’s investment rates.