Panama has enjoyed some of the highest economic growth in Latin America in the past decade, and most observers predict continued strong growth in the years ahead due to stable and consistent macro-economic policies. The Government of Panama GOP has promoted economic growth over the last decade through open market policies and by encouraging trade. The GOP maintains a liberal regime for foreign investment and investment in financial instruments while, with cooperation from the Panamanian business community, actively encouraging foreign direct investment FDI.
Panama became the fifth country in Latin America to obtain investment grade rating for its sovereign debt in springindicating that the three major credit rating agencies have confidence that the Government of Panama has the willingness and ability to manage its debt obligations. With few exceptions, Panamanian law makes no distinction between domestic and foreign companies. International indexes generally rate Panama as one of the best countries in Latin America for business and investment.
Key Panamanian strengths are considered to be cross border trading and access to finance. Weaknesses are poor rule of law, lack of judicial independence, a shortage of skilled workers, corruption, and poorly staffed government institutions that are susceptible to influence.
Government has received numerous reports of fraud and corruption in connection with titles to property purchased by U. Inthe GOP enacted the Investment Stability Law, which, among other things, guarantees foreign investors who invest at least two million dollars in Panama, equal treatment under the law to that given to their domestic competition.
Under Law 41Panama encourages multinational companies to open regional headquarters in Panama by offering various tax incentives; 63 international companies have been established under this law as of January 1, On June 28,the United States and Panama signed the United States — Panama Trade Promotion Agreement TPA. Panama approved the TPA on July 11, The US Congress approved implementing legislation on October 12,and President Obama signed it on October 21, Presidents Obama and Martinelli have agreed to implement the TPA as quickly as possible, but no date has been set for it to enter into force.
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The TPA is a comprehensive free trade agreement. When the TPA enters into force, it will result in significant liberalization of trade in goods and services, including financial services. The TPA also includes important disciplines relating to customs administration and trade facilitation, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, government procurement, investment, telecommunications, electronic commerce, intellectual property rights, and labor and environmental protection.
Under the TPA, U. All services sectors are covered under the TPA, except where Panama has made specific exceptions. Panama agreed to provide improved access in sectors like express delivery, and to grant new access in certain professional services that previously had been reserved exclusively for Panamanian nationals. Moreover, Panama agreed to become a full participant in the WTO Information Technology Agreement. Panama is unique in Latin America in that it is predominantly a services-based economy.
However, depending on the character of the planned investment, multiple governmental entities may have a passive or active interest in the investment in terms of ensuring that its parameters of operation are consistent with relevant regulations and requirements for land use, employment, special investment incentives, and business licensing.
There is no formal investment screening by the GOP, although the government does monitor large foreign investments.
The GOP does impose some limitations on foreign ownership, such as in the retail and media sectors where ownership must be Panamanian. Foreign retailers, however, have been able to work within the confines of Panamanian law primarily through franchise arrangements. Once the TPA comes into force, U. Currently, the exercise of approximately 55 professions is reserved for Panamanian nationals only. In particular, medical practitioners, lawyers, accountants, and custom brokers are occupations currently reserved for Panamanian citizens.
The GOP also requires foreigners in various sectors to obtain explicit permission to work. However, the Embassy has not received reports of such restrictions hindering U. The United States — Panama Bilateral Investment Treaty BIT entered into force in with additional amendments in The BIT ensures that, with some exceptions, U.
Once in force, the investor protection provisions in the TPA will supplant those in the BIT. Nevertheless, the BIT preserves for ten years the option for investors to invoke dispute settlement under the BIT with respect to investments covered by the Treaty as of the date of entry into force of the TPA, in the case of disputes that arose prior to the date of entry into force of the TPA, and for disputes arising on or after the date of entry into force of the TPA out of an investment agreement that was in effect before the date of entry into force of the TPA.
Government has received numerous property dispute complaints from U. The complaints include broken contracts, demands for extra payments, fraud perpetrated by organized crime rings, corruption, and occasional threats of violence. In some cases, these disputes resulted in the loss of the property. Many of these complaints appear to stem from the general lack of titled land in Panama, along with inadequate government administration of the property system and a weak judiciary.
The majority of land in Panama and almost all land outside of Panama City is not titled; a system of rights of possession exists, but the Embassy is aware of multiple instances where such rights have been successfully challenged. Americans should exercise greater due diligence in purchasing Panamanian real estate than they would in purchasing real estate in the United States.
Engaging a reputable attorney and licensed real estate broker is strongly recommended, as is including the option for mediation in any contract. Panama enacted Law 80 which attempts to address the lack of titled land in certain parts of the country; however, it does not cure deficiencies in government administration or the judicial system. Panama's privatization framework law does not distinguish between foreign and domestic investor participation in prospective privatizations.
The law calls for prescreening of potential investors or bidders in certain cases to establish technical viability, but nationality and Panamanian participation are not criteria. The Government of Panama privatized many entities starting in the mids, but there has not been a privatization in several years.
There were press reports of the water authority, convention center, and some functions of the public health system being privatized, but the current government has not indicated a desire to proceed with these or any other privatizations.
FDI levels have been driven by investments in the Colon Free Zone, logistics, energy, financial, maritime, construction and transportation sectors. The project entails the building of a third, much larger set of locks, the deepening of Lake Gatun, and deeper dredging of channels. All major contracts have been awarded, but there are opportunities to supply goods and services to the principal contractors.
Foreign companies can bid on such contracts under the same terms and conditions as Panamanian companies.
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The requirements for the project were publicized in earlyand an initial line is planned to be completed before the May elections. Panamanian Law 22 ofas amended by Law 48 ofamong others, regulates government procurement and other related issues. It requires publication of all proposed government purchases. Law 22 also established PanamaCompra, an Internet-based procurement system http: Panama has an administrative court to handle all public contracting disputes.
Many observers believe political interests are having a greater influence on procurement decisions. Panamanian business leaders have requested that sole-source contracting be used only on an exceptional basis, and U.
There have been numerous news articles — in both Italy and Panama — about alleged corruption involving Italian company Finmeccanica, and the sole source purchase of radar equipment and helicopters for reportedly inflated prices. In other instances, U. The TPA would also help to strengthen rule of law and fight corruption by requiring Panama to ensure under its domestic law that bribery in matters affecting trade and investment, including in government procurement, is treated as a criminal offense or is subject to non-criminal penalties where criminal responsibility is not applicable.
While Panama committed to become a party to the WTO Government Procurement Agreement at the time it joined the WTO, to date, it remains an observer. This website, in which a prospective business owner may register his or her business in 15 minutes, has reduced dramatically the number of opportunities for corruption from the former process which took 60 days and involved numerous interactions with local officials.
Importing entities are not required to have a separate import license, with the exception of certain controlled products such as weapons, medicine, pharmaceutical products and certain chemicals.
Panama has no legal restrictions on the transfer abroad of funds associated with or capital employed in an investment. There are no restrictions on capital outflows or convertibility. Panama uses the U. Currency conversion therefore is not an issue. There is no independent monetary policy in Panama, as Panama uses the U.
Inflation has historically been relatively low and predictable, with a rise to 6. The Embassy is unaware of any current international arbitration cases alleging direct expropriation of property by the Panamanian government. Panamanian law recognizes the concept of eminent domain. Panama has a court and judicial system built around a civil code, as opposed to the Anglo-American system of case law and judicial precedent.
Panama started in September a four year conversion to the accusatory system which is expected to simplify and expedite criminal judicial cases. Fundamental procedural rights in civil cases are broadly similar to those available in U. Judicial pleadings are not always a matter of public record, nor are the processes always transparent. Many lack confidence in the Panamanian judicial system as an objective, independent arbiter in legal or commercial disputes, especially when the case involves powerful local figures with political influence.
For example, Panama ranked out of in judicial independence in the September World Economic Forum report. Over the last few years, the majority of disputes involving U.
Such disputes have been difficult to resolve due to the lack of adequate titling, inconsistent regulations, lack of trained officials outside of Panama City, and a slow and cumbersome judiciary. Some of these disputes have resulted from U. The court system is slow and prone to massive case backlogs and corruption.
For this reason, Panamanian legal firms typically recommend that companies write arbitration clauses into contracts. Its bankruptcy law is antiquated and remains under review to be adapted to modern business practices. The GOP accepts binding international arbitration of disputes with foreign investors. Panama became a member of the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes ICSID in The United States and Panama signed an amendment to the Bilateral Investment Treaty BIT to incorporate Panama's membership into ICSID on June 1, This amendment took effect in May Panama also became a member of the World Bank's Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency MIGA in There are no legal performance requirements such as minimum export percentages, significant local requirements of local equity interest, or mandatory technology transfer.
There are special tax and other incentives for manufacturers to locate in an export-processing zone EPZwhich include call centers. Official support for investment and business activity is especially strong for the Colon Free Zone CFZthe banking sector, the tourism sector, and EPZs. Banks and individuals in Panama pay no tax on interest or other income earned outside Panama. No are binary options legit system are withheld on savings or fixed time deposits in Panama.
Individual depositors do not pay taxes on time deposits. EPZs offer tax-free status, special immigration privileges, and license and customs exemptions to manufacturers who locate there. Investment incentives offered by the GOP are available equally to Panamanian and foreign investors. The incentives do not discriminate or distinguish between Panamanians and foreign investors. Buy stock market open today columbus day the current exceptions of retail trade, the media, and several introducing broker futures commission merchant, foreign and domestic entities have the right to establish, own, and dispose of business interests in virtually all forms of remunerative enterprise.
Foreigners need not be legally resident or physically present in Panama to volatility chart forex corporations or to obtain local operating licenses for a foreign corporation. Business visas and even citizenship are readily obtainable for significant investors.
Banking, financial services, and the legal profession are receptive toward attracting foreign business. Once implemented, the TPA will forex robots ranking U.
Portfolio managers in the U. Panama has an adequate and effective domestic legal framework to protect and enforce intellectual property. Since Junetwo district courts and one superior tribunal have been exclusively adjudicating anti-trust, patent, trademark, and copyright cases.
Beginning in Januarythere has been an IPR-specific prosecutor with national authority, which has consolidated and simplified prosecution of those cases. Law 1 of added crimes against intellectual property as a predicate offense for money laundering; Law 14 establishes a stock options expiration dates to 12 year prison sentence, plus possible fines.
Intellectual property policy and practice icsid arbitration as an option for international construction disputes Panama is the responsibility of an Inter-institutional Committee for Intellectual Property CIPIwhich includes representatives from four government agencies - Colon Forex trading without software review Zone, Intellectual Property Registry, Customs, and the attorney general - under the leadership of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
CIPI coordinates enforcement actions and develops strategies to improve compliance with the law. Piracy is a significant problem in Panama, and Internet piracy is an emerging problem.
For example, unauthorized downloaded movie or music files from the Call option journal entries often are used in the creation of pirated optical music and film discs distributed by street vendors. Additionally, some stakeholders have reported experiencing irregularities and inefficiency in some intellectual property judicial cases.
Department of Justice, and the U. Embassy sponsored a workshop in August for Panamanian prosecutors, judges, and investigators to combat the illicit sale, importation, and manufacturing of counterfeit pharmaceuticals.
Mortgages, liens, and other security interests are recognized and registered in the public registry with most of the information available on-line http: Unique features forex contest november 2013 Panamanian law and practice in specific areas including cakephp input type date selected not forex box breakout system to banking, accounting requirements, formation and functioning of corporations, and taxation make retention of local legal counsel highly advisable.
Panama is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization WIPOthe Geneva Phonograms Convention, the Brussels Satellite Convention, the Universal Copyright Convention, the Bern Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, and the International Convention for the Cattle markets north wales of Plant Varieties.
In addition, Panama was one of the first countries to ratify the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty, although the GOP has yet to introduce implementing legislation to put these treaties fully into force in Panama and to establish new offenses, such as those needed for internet-based copyright violations and to enhance border measures.
The TPA provides for improved standards for the protection and enforcement of a broad range of intellectual property rights, which are consistent with U. Such improvements include state-of-the-art how to make lots of money in the tribez for digital products such as U.
Under the TPA, Panama will be obligated to ratify or accede to the Patent Cooperation Treaty, the Convention Relating to the Distribution of Programme-Carrying Signals Transmitted by Satellite, and the Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure by the date the TPA enters into force.
Panama would also be obligated to ratify or accede to the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants and the Trademark Law Treaty. The National Assembly in passed a comprehensive copyright bill Law 15based on a World Intellectual Property Make money zazzle model.
Law 15 provides copyright protection based on the life of the author plus 50 years. If there are co-authors, the protection is until 50 years after the death of the last author. Collective works, software and audiovisual works are also covered for 50 years since the date of publication or after the work is finished with no publication.
The law modernizes copyright protection in Panama, provides for payment of royalties, facilitates the prosecution of copyright violators, protects computer software, and makes copyright infringement a felony.
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Films in theatrical release are often downloaded to DVDs and videos, reproduced on optical discs, and then distributed by street vendors. The TPA requires implementation of the WIPO Treaties in a manner consistent with the U.
The TPA would also extend copyright protection to life of the author plus 70 years; would require both governments to mandate the use of legal software in government agencies; and would include provisions to protect against the theft of encrypted satellite signals and the manufacturing or sale of tools to steal such signals.
Panama is a member of the Paris Convention for the Protection trading binary options with moving averages Industrial Property.
Law 35 provides specific protection for trade secrets. Under the TPA, Panama must adjust the patent term for products other than pharmaceutical products to compensate for unreasonable delays that occur while granting a patent.
For pharmaceutical products, Panama may, but is not required to, adjust the patent term if there is an unreasonable delay in granting a patent or providing marketing approval for a product.
In one case, a U. Law 35 provides trademark protection, simplifies the process of registering trademarks and allows for renewal of a trademark for ten-year periods. An important feature of the law is the besproigrishnaya binary options strategy of ex-officio authority to government agencies to conduct investigations and to seize materials suspected of being counterfeited.
Decrees of November and 79 of August specify the procedures to be followed by Customs and Colon Free Intraday vs swing trading CFZ officials in conducting investigations and confiscating merchandise. Inthe Customs Directorate created a special office for IPR enforcement, followed by a similar office created by the CFZ in The Trademark Registration Office http: This office reports that it has reduced trademark registration processing time in half, down from one year to six months.
This office also reports that it has conducted classes on the ways to make isk eve online of IPR protection at the Technical University of Panama and recently sponsored a National Inventor's Competition that brought inventors together with prospective investors and customers.
Under the TPA, Panama must protect trademarks and geographical indications, including by refusing protection or recognition of a geographical indication that is likely to be call option journal entries similar to a preexisting trademark. Panama must also have a system of registration that provides efficient and transparent procedures governing applications to protect trademarks and geographical indications.
In the banking and finance sector, private entities generally give good marks to the Panamanian entities that regulate them, notably the Superintendent of Banks. Authorities often fail to consult stock market betting against affected parties before enacting new policies or implementing new legislation.
In late and then again inthe GOP started to change the rules governing the import and sale of refined petroleum products. Fuel importers did not consider the process to be fair and transparent.
In addition, regulatory uncertainty has become a hindrance to investment in the power generation sector. In latean American power generating firm had their concession revoked. In the last half ofseveral U.
Panama's Banking Law with amendments from the Banking Law regulates the country's financial sector. The law, which concentrates regulatory authority in the hands of a powerful and well-financed Banking Superintendent http: Traditional bank lending from the well-developed banking sector is relatively efficient and is the most common source of financing for both domestic and foreign investors, offering the private sector a variety of credit instruments. Panamanian interest rates closely follow international rates i.
Panama passed a securities law that established a National Securities Commission to regulate brokers, fund managers, and all matters related to the securities Industry in which started its activities in Law 67 of made amendments and created a securities superintendent similar to the banking sector. Some private companies, including multinational corporations, have issued bonds in the local securities market. Companies rarely issue stock on the local market and, when they do, they often try to issue shares with no voting rights.
Moreover, investor demand is generally limited because of the small pool of persons, companies, and sekolah forex di bandung with the resources to invest.
Interest from time deposits and certain bonds are tax-exempt. While wealthy Panamanians may hold overlapping interests in various businesses, Post is unaware of any established practice of having cross-shareholding or stable shareholder arrangements, designed to restrict foreign investment through mergers and acquisitions.
There are no restrictions on, nor practical measures to prevent hostile foreign investor takeovers, nor are there regulatory provisions authorizing limitations on foreign participation or control or other practices to restrict foreign participation.
There are no government or private sector rules to prevent foreign participation in industry standards setting consortia. Financing for consumers is also relatively open, as mortgages, credit cards and personal loans, even to those earning modest incomes, are widely available on terms similar to those in the U. The Panamanian Stock Exchange http: The rupturing of the governing alliance in August has increased political tension in the country.
Panama's Constitution disagreement and the stock market journal of economic perspectives for the right of peaceful assembly, and the Government generally respects this right.
No authorization is needed for outdoor assembly, although prior notification for administrative purposes is required. Unions, student groups, employee associations, elected officials, and unaffiliated groups frequently attempt to impede traffic and commerce in order to force the government or business to agree to demands.
The controversial law revised several aspects of the Labor Code and eight other laws. Labor leaders, environmentalists, the media, and business groups opposed the law. In early Julythe Sitrabana union in the province of Bocas del Toro began a strike against Law The strike and related protests turned violent as police intervened.
In the wake of the violence, the government agreed to pursue a formal process of dialogue with labor, businesses and civil society groups. The dialogue led to a series of revisions to Law 30 in Octoberunder which the law was divided into six individual bills with amended provisions acceptable to all the participants. In early Februarythe Government of Panama passed Law 8, which would have allowed foreign investment by allowing foreign government-owned companies or sovereign wealth fund equity investments to hold equity shares in mining concessions, among other amendments to the mining code.
Indigenous, environmental, media, and student groups sought the revocation of the law through a concerted political campaign, which included daily protests and blocking of major roads and highways.
The government repealed the law in March In the most recent edition of the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, Panama fell thirteen spots, to 86 out of The Panamanian judicial system continues to pose a problem for investors due to poorly trained personnel, case backlogs, and a lack of independence from political influence. Supreme Court judges are typically nominated to their year terms on the basis of political and personal considerations.
The President began by taking a harder rhetorical line on businesses that he said were not paying their taxes. The GOP has not acted to dismantle Panama's dictatorship-era libel and contempt laws, which can be used to punish whistleblowers, while those accused of acts of corruption are seldom prosecuted and almost never jailed.
Domestic anticorruption mechanisms exist, such as asset forfeiture, whistleblower and witness protection, and conflict-of-interest rules. However, the general perception is that anticorruption laws are not applied rigorously, and that government enforcement bodies and the courts have lacked effectiveness in pursuing and prosecuting those accused of corruption, particularly in high profile cases. The lack of a strong professionalized career civil service work force in Panama's public sector also hinders systemic change.
However, there is a perception that Panama could do more to implement the conventions and respond to official recommendations. Complaints by American investors about allegedly corrupt judicial and governmental decisions prejudicial to their interests remain common and problematic. However, despite allegations of corruption, other than cases involving drug trafficking, GOP officials, judges, and legislators are seldom investigated, much less convicted on corruption charges.
Panama has bilateral investment agreements with the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Germany, Taiwan Canada, Argentina, Spain, Chile, Uruguay, the Czech Republic, Netherlands, Cuba, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Korea, Ukraine, Sweden, Qatar, Finland, and Italy.
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Commerce Ministry officials have said that there have been some exploratory talks toward investment agreements with other countries, but they acknowledge that these discussions have a lower priority than ongoing free trade negotiations. The BIT and the TPA further the U. The BIT and TPA commitments draw from U.
They use traditional standards incorporated in earlier U. All forms of investment will be protected under the BIT and TPA, including enterprises, debt, concessions and similar contracts, and intellectual property.
With very few exceptions, U. Submissions to investor-state arbitral tribunals would be made public, and hearings would generally be open to the public. Tribunals would also be authorized to accept amicus submissions from non-disputing parties. Once in force, the TPA will suspend the BIT, but preserves for ten years the option of invoking dispute settlement under the BIT with respect to investments covered by the Treaty as of the date of entry into force of the Agreement, in the case of disputes that arose prior to the date of entry into force of the Agreement, and for disputes arising on or after the date of entry into force of the Agreement out of an investment agreement that was in effect before the date of entry into force of the Agreement.
The United States and Panama signed a comprehensive Overseas Private Investment Corporation OPIC agreement in April OPIC offers both financing and insurance coverage against expropriation, war, revolution, insurrection, and inconvertibility for eligible U.
Financing is available for overseas investments that are wholly owned by U. Panama has been a member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency MIGA since A frequent concern for American businesses in Panama is the labor code, specifically the cost and time of training or laying off or firing an employee. Panama's non-agriculture labor force is approximately 1. While the GOP has periodically revised its labor code, including a modest revision init remains highly restrictive.
Employers outside of these areas, such as the tourism sector, have called for greater flexibility, easier termination of workers, and the elimination of many constraints on productivity-based pay. Employers frequently cite the lack of skilled labor as a constraint to growth. The September World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report ranked Panama out of countries for quality of education. This poor showing underscored the OECD Program for International Student Achievement PISA analysis, which ranked Panama second worst among participating Latin American countries.
The lack of skilled labor is of serious concern to both Panamanian and foreign investors. If a firm is insolvent, the law also gives workers priority over all other non-secured creditors.
Law 18 of established the Colon Free Zone CFZwhich is now the second largest free trade zone in the world, after Hong Kong. Most merchandise clothing, footwear, electronics, pharmaceuticals, medicines, perfumes, cosmetics, liquor, cigarettes, textiles, bedding, linens and fine jewelry is transshipped from the Far East particularly China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan through the CFZ to other parts of the Western Hemisphere particularly Venezuela, Colombia, and Panama.
Almost 3, companies operate within its hectares. The process for the establishment of a company in the area takes approximately 4 to 6 months. Dell, WR Grace, Singapore Technologies Aerospace, and Caterpillar are among the multinational companies which are located there. Law 32 of provides updated regulations for the development of free trade zones not including the Colon Free Zone in an effort to broaden the Panamanian economic development while promoting investment in former U.
The law also includes specific labor and immigration provisions that are more favorable than the current Panamanian labor code. The government also provides numerous tax incentives to companies that operate in Free Trade Zones. Companies, whether Panamanian or foreign, operating in these zones may import inputs duty-free if products assembled in the zones are to be exported.
There are currently 14 free zones with 95 companies registered. They face difficulties due to Panama's higher-than-regional-average wages, limited existing industrial base and weak infrastructure, particularly outside the Panama-Colon Corridor. Law 25 of also provides for the development of call centers; seventy eight companies are currently licensed to operate call centers.
The Office of Website Management, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U. External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.
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Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. Conversion and Transfer Policies Panama has no legal restrictions on the transfer abroad of funds associated with or capital employed in an investment. Expropriation and Compensation The Embassy is unaware of any current international arbitration cases alleging direct expropriation of property by the Panamanian government.
Dispute Settlement Panama has a court and judicial system built around a civil code, as opposed to the Anglo-American system of case law and judicial precedent. Performance Requirements and Incentives There are no legal performance requirements such as minimum export percentages, significant local requirements of local equity interest, or mandatory technology transfer.
Right to Private Ownership and Establishment With the current exceptions of retail trade, the media, and several professions, foreign and domestic entities have the right to establish, own, and dispose of business interests in virtually all forms of remunerative enterprise. Protection of Property Rights Panama has an adequate and effective domestic legal framework to protect and enforce intellectual property. Embassy sponsored a workshop in August for Panamanian prosecutors, judges, and investigators to combat the illicit sale, importation, and manufacturing of counterfeit pharmaceuticals Mortgages, liens, and other security interests are recognized and registered in the public registry with most of the information available on-line http: Copyrights The National Assembly in passed a comprehensive copyright bill Law 15based on a World Intellectual Property Organization model.
Patents Panama is a member of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. Transparency of Regulatory System In the banking and finance sector, private entities generally give good marks to the Panamanian entities that regulate them, notably the Superintendent of Banks.
Efficient Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment Panama's Banking Law with amendments from the Banking Law regulates the country's financial sector. Political Violence The rupturing of the governing alliance in August has increased political tension in the country.
Corruption In the most recent edition of the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, Panama fell thirteen spots, to 86 out of Bilateral Investment Agreements Panama has bilateral investment agreements with the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Germany, Taiwan Canada, Argentina, Spain, Chile, Uruguay, the Czech Republic, Netherlands, Cuba, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Korea, Ukraine, Sweden, Qatar, Finland, and Italy.
OPIC and Other Investment Insurance Programs The United States and Panama signed a comprehensive Overseas Private Investment Corporation OPIC agreement in April Labor A frequent concern for American businesses in Panama is the labor code, specifically the cost and time of training or laying off or firing an employee. Foreign-Trade Zones Law 18 of established the Colon Free Zone CFZwhich is now the second largest free trade zone in the world, after Hong Kong.
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