Week in Review – Vol. 35 No. 2

EXPECTANCY

The Panama Canal estimates that from 2020, with the new locks, “approximately 25 million metric tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) will transit every year,” said its manager, Jorge Luis Quijano. “The discovery of large gas reserves in the area of the Gulf of Mexico, in the United States, in recent years, has opened the opportunity in a matter of months for the first exports of liquefied natural gas, and given the expansion of the locks, this could move through the Panama Canal on the route linking the Gulf area (of Mex-ico) with Asian countries, especially South Korea and Japan,” said Quijano.

PANAMA PAYS

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) received the annual contribution of Panama for 2016, amounting to more than $6.8 million, the largest contribution from any country to this organization, reported an official source. The contribution was exactly $6,888,710.62, corresponding to 16.42% of total contributions to the regular budget of the IMO, the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) said in a statement. The Minister of Maritime Affairs and Administrator of the AMP, Jorge Barakat, handed over this money to the secretary general of the organization, Kitack Lim, in London, where the two held a meeting on the areas in which Panama must advance.

CONTRACTS EYED

Members of different sectors of the country consider that it is “mandatory” that the Executive audit the contracts of works carried out, by the construction company Ode-brecht in Panama, after the president of that company in Brazil, Marcelo Odebrecht, was condemned to 19 years and four months in prison for corruption and money laundering. Jose Chen Barria, a former Comptroller, proposes that, in addition to the contracts, there should also be an audit of the multi-million dollar addendums that the company has received from various past governments.

LOGISTICS FIRST

The fact that Panama is defined as a service country has created “inconsistency” on activities that are not easy to perform, such as agricultural and industrial, said Ricardo Sotelo, president of the Panama Union of Industrialists (SIP). Sotelo said that at this time the country has schemes of service that should be reviewed, such as the Colon Free Zone (CFZ), banking and logistics, which are business models that the government has to start updating.

BOCAS BRIDGE

In June, Panama expects to start on the construction of a border bridge with Costa Rica, over the Sixaola River, valued at more than $15 million and whose international tender will be called in April.

The bridge, 260 meters long and 17 meters wide, will replace an old structure that has been in place for more than a century, and which now represents a danger, said the Director of the Coordinating Unit for Central America of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), Omar Go-mez, in an official statement.

NINTH FREE ZONE

The country will have its ninth free zone, in the Tocumen International Airport, in just one month, if Tocumen, SA’s request is approved The application of this public company is due to the demands of logistics and increased volume of air cargo passing through the airport, the company said in its request to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

ANOTHER CASE

The Supreme Court asked the Electoral Tribunal (TE), to lift the electoral criminal protection against former President Ricardo Martinelli in the case of Cobranzas del Istmo, SA (CISA). It was also known that the Court asked for the same in the case of buying grain through the defunct National Assistance Program (PAN).

BANKRUPTCY BILL

The full National Assembly approved on third reading, Bill No. 297, for the regime of insolvency and bankruptcy proceedings, aimed at saving companies with a special mechanism. The proposal creates a special jurisdiction in establishing fixed and final terms where most disputes are resolved.

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