The Republic of Panama, on the isthmus that connects North and South America, is home to the famous Canal that links the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Panama’s privileged location makes it a gateway to the rest of the Latin America and it has historically been a transport and logistics hub. Here are five more reasons you should consider it a foothold for expanding your business into the rest of the region:
One 5PL can cover it all
Panama boasts the largest free trade zone in the Americas and second largest in the world. You can sell your goods to a 5PL based in Panama and expect to see your products distributed and retailing throughout Central America and the Caribbean as well as across South America.
That’s an area covering a combined population of over 600 million that you can reach without having to spend time and money visiting each country. It is also much less expensive to ship LatAm bound goods via Panama, rather than shipping to the US and then on to Latin America. Panama is better equipped for servicing Latin America than Miami. It is faster by days, and with better access and trade routes with Asia.
Setting up a new business is faster than ever
Your new business can be up and running in weeks. Panama has reduced the time required for registering a new company, has simplified procedures for permits, strengthened access to credit and allows business licenses to be obtained online.
Panama’s most recent law EMMA is attracting foreign manufacturers to its free trades zones where they are granted special labor laws, can enjoy the already existing facilities (to store, condition, pack, reload, label, package etc.) and are exempt from imports tax on goods and equipment required for manufacturing activities.
Panama has some of the best and well-developed infrastructure, power and communications in Latin America. The country’s metros, bridges, highways, airports, ports and the Canal contribute to a good quality of life and continue to attract further investment. Free trade zones have established world-class import centers, warehousing, packaging and re-exporting facilities for all industries from pharmaceuticals to auto parts and food and beverage. Because the Canal is a maritime hub, you will find value-add services already existing: everything from manufacturing, IT and labor support, late stage packaging to retail services (e-commerce).
Panama free trade zones offer a one-stop-shop customs office where bureaucratic regulations are minimized. Businesses save on border compliance costs and clearance times as inspections are carried out by in-house authorities. You will reduce the transit time of goods while expanding to the rest of the Americas and from here you are easily connected to the rest of the region and the world.
Stable economy and business-friendly environment
With a dollarized economy, Panama is a major epicenter for banking, commerce and innovation and a regional leader in economic development. Activity on the Canal and in the free trade zones have kept growth rates amongst the highest in Latin America. The pro-business government has progressive policies and is always working to reduce barriers since Law 41 of 2007, which allows multinational regional headquarters to be physically based in Panama. For example, you can bring in foreign labor or have local labor that is skilled and less expensive than US counterparts. Stability is ensured as foreign investors enjoy the same investment and business rights.
Having business presence in Panama provides a critical inlay into Latin America. Panama has free trade agreements with countries across Latin America that your business can take advantage of. Special legislation ensures protection for investors, labor protection, trade facilitation and removal of financial barriers, making it the ultimate destination as a distribution center for the rest of Latin America.