Profiting in Panama
Down on the isthmus that connects the Americas there is a prosperous little country with an economic growth rate that equals China’s. It has a big expat population and not all of them are retirees. Even some of the retirees in Panama still work, or at least invest. There are lots of opportunities in the land that connects North and South America as well as the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Here are a few thoughts about making money in Panama.
Expatriate Talent Panama Investment Opportunities
Panama is business friendly. It has laws that attract foreign investment and foreign talent to a tropical paradise with first world infrastructure. Panama ranks number one in Latin America in foreign investment per capita. The country is taking advantage of the previously undeveloped parts of the Panama Canal Zone. It is promoting assembly and export facilities and is upgrading its ports and container shipping infrastructure. The “third lane” Panama Canal expansion is will be done in a couple of years. This will allow the world’s biggest ships to pass from ocean to ocean and avoid the costly trip around the tip of South America. Expect to see Panama Canal traffic increase and Panama prosperity with it. As the business climate in Panama prospers so do entrepreneurs in the nation. A number of online English publications are run by expats and the owner and the editor of the most prominent English language newspaper in Panama City are both long term expats. It is perfectly legal to own and run a business in Panama if you are an expat from virtually anywhere.
Engaging in Business in Panama
It is perfectly legal for an expat to come to Panama, employ people, open a business, make money, make things or provide services, and prosper. It can also be problematic to do business in a foreign location. However, as we said, Panama is business friendly and has few restrictions on doing business in the country. Certainly, doing business in Panama is a lot easier for a Latino expat from Caracas, Bogotá, or Barcelona than an English speaker from Chicago or Saint Louis but because English is commonly spoken in Panama all things are possible.
Businesses can do well in Panama but remember that the pace of life, and business, are different in this climate. A Venezuelan fleeing life under Hugo Chavez, an entrepreneur from San Jose, Costa Rica, or a businessman from Bogota may well have better intuition into doing business in Panama City than even the son of a Cuban refugee who was raised to do business in the Cuban community of Miami.
Take a look at the Doing Business website. On this World Bank sponsored web site relating to worldwide business Panama ranks 81st out of 181 economies ranked. Panama is eighth in doing business across borders and twenty-eighth in getting credit for doing business. Within the Western Hemisphere Panama ranks 11th overall out of 31 countries. -more