Economy & Business - March 2023


PANAMA | New free zones. On 7 February Panama’s government led by President Laurentino Cortizo announced it had authorised the installation of two new free zones with an initial investment of US$78.5m, aimed at creating new jobs, boosting production, and increasing exports. These zones provide special tax and other incentives for manufacturers who locate within them. The two new zones are the Tech Valley Free Zone, which seeks to include 120 companies and will generate 1,140 direct jobs and 3,570 indirect jobs, and the Panamá Digital Gateway which will include 620 companies aimed at maintaining the country’s strategy of being the region’s digital hub. According to the Cortizo government, Panama has doubled the number of free zones that had been installed under the previous two administrations while export sales via these free zones has doubled since 2018 from US$78m to US$143m. The latest (2022) US State Department investment climate statement on Panama notes that the country is home to the Colón Free Trade Zone (CFZ), the largest free-trade zone in the Western Hemisphere, the Panamá Pacífico Special Economic Zone, and 18 other free zones (12 active and six in development). The CFZ has more than 2,500 businesses, while the Panamá Pacífico Special Economic Zone has more than 345 businesses, and the remaining free zones host 126 companies in total.

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