Week in Review September 20


The Colón Free Zone (ZLC) on the Caribbean coast of Panama, which is the largest free trade zone in the hemisphere, agreed to an alliance with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to modernize the institutional framework and promote markets in a transparent manner. UNDP’s resident representative in Panama, Harold Robinson Davis, said that the organization will make available to the CFZ its experience in the management and execution of projects of governance and social interest, as well as knowledge and specialties in the areas of development.


The new management of the CFZ announced that it will invest in the modernization and rehabilitation of their infrastructures to attract new investments from other markets in Latin America, Europe and Asia. Manuel Grimaldo, general manager of the free trade zone, said that the markets in which they will focus to look for new trade opportunities are Brazil, Bolivia, China, Italy, Mexico, Turkey, Singapore, the Caribbean and Central America.


After surpassing the initial fall of last year, following the inauguration of the Panama Canal expansion, on June 26, 2016, the transit of ships through the important inter-oceanic route has improved so far this year, 2017. This is reflected by a report from the Comptroller’s Office, which indicates that from January to July 2017, the transit of ships through the Canal increased by 5.9%, from 7,711 units in the same period of 2016 to 8,163 units.


Panamanian banks have the opportunity to develop a new niche market in the province of Colón, said the executive secretary of Colón Free Port, María Vanessa Ford, who invited the banks to create credit facilities for investors interested in restoring or remodeling properties on the 16 streets of the Old Town of the Atlantic city, as well as the area of Colón 2000.


Álvaro Alemán, Minister of the Presidency, presented to the logistics sector the National Strategy for 2030. Logistics activity is an opportunity to continue sustainable economic growth and, above all, to take advantage of the opportunity offered by the expansion of the Panama Canal. “We have to face the competition as a country and take advantage of the opportunity offered by the expanded Canal in logistics,” Alemán said.


The ratings agency Fitch Ratings reaffirmed for the second consecutive year the Grade A Investment Grade rating, with a stable outlook, for long-term debt of the Panama Canal bonds. In its report, the rating agency points out that “it is the reflection that the Canal is a key asset not only for Panama but also for international trade, as demonstrated by the stable performance of its tonnage and its competitive position, factors which have shown that the Canal is resilient to the downturns of the economy”.


The Federal Bureau of Investigation, known worldwide by its acronym FBI, “awaits the investigation against former President Ricardo Martinelli for alleged insider trading in the case of the purchase and sale of shares of the mining company Petaquilla Minerals Ltd. pending new information to reactivate the case,” said a source linked to the process. The investigation is also of interest to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which is responsible for protecting investments and maintaining efficient markets.


Judge Edwin Torres of the Southern District Court of Florida, virtually dismissed the arguments of the defense team of former President Ricardo Martinelli and granted the Government of Panama the extradition right of the defendant. In a 93-page ruling, the judge conducted a thorough analysis of the arguments put forward by both parties. In this regard, he considered, for example, the general principles of delivery and the role of the Court in this process, a limited issue, which gives the US Executive the power to decide whether or not to deliver the accused to the country that requested the assignment, in this case – Panama.


Punta Pacifica Hospital has announced that it is ending the medical treatment of Luis Cucalón, ex-director of the former National Revenue Authority, today the General Revenue Office, a tax collection arm of the Ministry of Economy and Finance. Cucalon has been hospitalized for two years. In a letter addressed to Cucalón, the medical center warns the patient that his “judicial representation uses the Hospital as an excuse to justify his hospitalization, which is a false statement and the hospital cannot deal with the constant media attacks”. A medical evaluation of the Institute of Forensic Medicine and Forensic Sciences (Imelcf) practiced by doctors Nidia de Lora and Ricaurte González, determined that the health condition of Cucalón, is stable. The ex-official is accused of alleged embezzlement in the case of Cobranzas del Istmo, S.A.


Since the inauguration of the Enrique A. Jiménez airport in the province of Colon, only a handful of private planes have used the infrastructure. This inactivity led Tocumen SA to withdraw the immigration and Customs offices to save maintenance costs. In this way the airport stopped being international and has been enabled only to local flights.

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