Week in Review – Vol. 35#9 – June 27


A fourth set of locks on the Panama Canal could be built “If it becomes necessary” and a group of experts will start a feasibility study from October 1. However, there is still no decision, the administrator, Jorge Quijano told the news agency Efe.


Between 2007 and 2015, during the expansion work of the Canal, 2,250 pieces of archaeological value were found, dating from different periods of the history of Panama: Pre-Columbian, colonial, departmental and republican eras, in addition to the US occupation of the Canal zone. The collection includes pre-Columbian ceramics and tools, weapons from the time of colonization, remains of trains and building structures of the French canal; US military trenches and hundreds of century-old glass bottles, among other pieces to be presented at an upcoming exhibition.


Panama Ports Company (PPC) filed an administrative contentious complaint against the resolution of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) which authorized the administration to start the process of prequalification and bidding for the concession of the port of Corozal to try and have it declared void. The case corresponds to judge Cecilio Cedalise, who must decide whether to admit the claim or reject it.


The Cabinet approved the free transfer to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) by the Unit of Reverted Property (UABR) of the Ministry of Economy, the land on which the third set of locks and other components of the enlargement project was built. This is seven polygons on the Pacific side in of the province of Panama and on the Atlantic side in Colon. The executive secretary of the UABR, Luis Icaza, said the estimated value of the land is $143.7 million.


New rates will be applied by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) for tugboats, line handlers and locomotive services ratified by the Cabinet. These services provide support to the transit of ships through the waterway and are in addition to the tolls charged. The resolution had already been approved by the Board of the ACP and consolidated in a single document of the tariffs set out in Agreement No.155 of January 9, 2008, said a statement from the Presidency.


A few days before the 68th anniversary of the foundation of the largest free zone in the Americas and the second largest in the world (after Hong Kong), doubts emerge once again about its fate if the situation of the Colon Free zone (CFZ) does not change. Beyond the promises of prosperity that have been trumpeted by the government of President Juan Carlos Varela, before and after promulgation of the Colon Free Port Law and regulations that reorganize the CFZ as an autonomous entity of the State, this economic area remains asphyxiated by taxes and fees paid to operate within it.


The Government of Panama approved in a Council of Ministers to extend for 20 years the management contract of the Port of Coco Solo Norte, on the Caribbean, held by the company Colon Container Terminal. The contract of development, construction, operation, administration and management of the container terminal, was originally signed in January 1996 for a term of 20 years, recalled the government in an official statement.


“El Siglo and La Estrella de Panama represent a much higher value than a bank account. It is permanent value, and that value is freedom of expression. The whole country must defend this treasure,” warns a public statement released by reporters, editors, designers, photographers and external collaborators of articles of Grupo Editorial El Siglo-La Estrella (GESE), whose operations are at risk because of the inclusion of its main shareholder on the “Clinton List” by the United States against alleged money laundering.


David Aufhauser worked for the United States’ Treasury Department between 2001 and 2004 as director of the Legal Department. Now he is a private attorney and defending Abdul Waked against those who were once his bosses. In short, his message is simple one: The Clinton List is a sign of “abuse of US power”, and having Abdul Waked there without evidence of his links with money laundering is an injustice which also involves the Panamanian government.


On the progress made by Panama on fiscal matters, is the next challenge for the country ahead of the review of Phase II of the Global Forum of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) scheduled for October dealing with the High Level Presidential Commission for the Defense of International and Financial Services (CANDSIF), chaired by the Vice Foreign Minister, Luis Miguel Hincapie.


In the first six months of the year, five tons of abandoned nets were collected in the seas of Panama, abandoned by fishermen, which are a major source of marine pollution, said the Water Resources Authority.


A 15% advance is shown in the construction of Line 2 of the Panama Metro, said President Juan Carlos Varela during a tour of the works. The president was accompanied by the chairman of the Board of the Panama Metro, Roberto Roy, and Marcos Tepedino, director of the contractor of the Line 2 Consortium, formed by construction companies Norberto Odebrecht and FCC Construction, S.A.


Looking for new business and investment opportunities, for the first time, the Invest Expo 2016 was inaugurated in Panama. The opening ceremony was led by Deputy Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor, Luis Miguel Hincapie, who noted that “despite the difficulties in Latin America as a region, Panama keeps growing at significant figures; last year it reported the highest numbers of foreign direct investment relative to the size of its economy for more than $5 billion and an increase of 17% over previous years.”


Panama City will take about two decades to reach a level of “intelligence” that generates energy savings that can reach 30% of total consumption, calculated a business source. The manager solutions in Panama of the French multinational Schneider Electric, Rafael Espinal, explained that Panama currently “is advanced by about 30% to become an Intelligent city”, which means the efficient use of energy, sustainability and system coordinated by participation of all producer and consumer sectors.


It would take at least five years for Panama to prepare a human resource capable of entering new business models posed by the technological revolution, says labor consultant, René Quevedo. This comes after reports showed the global impact of the fourth technological revolution on business models and reducing job spaces by robotization and automation services.

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