Week in Review
With the expansion of the Panama Canal not all is yet said, because there are still challenges and other opportunities that will come along. The term Post panamaxes will give Panama one of the innovations when the mega expansion project becomes a reality and creates an opportunity to move more containers and other products that previously could not go through the Canal, such as liquefied natural gas and coal, among others.
NEW SAVINGS FUND
The Cabinet approved the creation of a draft law establishing the sovereign fund, which will be named the Panama Savings Fund (PAF). Under the proposal, the initial capitalization will come from the absorption of the assets of the Trust Fund for Development ($1,200 million). From 2015 the fund will be endowed with some of the extra revenue generated by the expanded Panama Canal.
Members of the Panama Airlines Association (Alap) rejected Bill 420, introduced by the Security Minister, Jose Raul Mulino, which fixes fines of up to $50,000 on the airlines in which a passenger is detected introducing drugs into the country. The association objected specifically to paragraph 3 of Article 2 of the proposal, which states that the airline that carried the passenger introducing the drug into the country shall be fined a $5,000 minimum and a maximum of $50,000.
A program has been launched to train and establish new agricultural exporters, said the Minister of Commerce and Industry, with the assistance of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA). This project will consist of three main stages: international business training, validation of the selected products on the market and putting the items in the destination countries.
CAPTAIN IN TROUBLE
A complaint for wrongful death and failure to assist the drifting fishermen Adrian Vasquez, Edwin Oropesa and Fernando Osorio, was presented to the Attorney General’s Office against Edwin Perrin, captain of the cruise ship Star Princess. On March 10, after spending 16 days at sea without food or water, the fishermen made signs to the cruise ship, but it is alleged the vessel ignored them. Two of the men died at sea and the third was rescued by a tuna boat near the Galapagos Islands. It is understood passengers on the cruise ship took photographs of the men calling for help.
The falling price of pineapple in the international market has eroded the incomes of agricultural exporters in the town of Herrera in La Chorrera. The tentacles of the financial crisis in Europe have disrupted the ordering and pricing of the box of fruit.
The balance of the public debt of the Republic reached $13,672.5 million last March, according to a report by the Department of Public Credit of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF). The increase in debt in one year was $1,750.1 million, a figure comparable to the cost of the first Metro line in Panama.
The challenges to food security in the region will be analyzed in Panama by more than 150 agricultural researchers from 15 countries. For five days the researchers will discuss new developments to boost agricultural and livestock production and natural resources in order to reduce the food deficit in the Mesoamerican region.
Panama’s economy is one of the most stable, dynamic, promising and fastest growing in Latin America. The World Bank reported that in 2008 it had the highest per capita income in Central America, about $12,503. For 2010, in the Human Development Report, the average annual income per capita stood at $13,343, which means that every Panamanian has an average monthly income of $1,112.
Panama has attracted the interest of investors after the involvement of a local chapter in The International Economic Forum of the Americas held in West Palm Beach, Florida. Two Canadian-owned banks, one corporate and the other commercial, are interested in the banking sector, said the Minister of Commerce, Ricardo Quijano.
FASHION AT AIRPORT
The expansion of Tocumen International Airport has rekindled the interest of traders to get a space and sell their products in the main entry area. The Náutica, Faconnable, Tommy Hilfiger and Hilfiger Denim brand representatives submitted proposals to win the bid for three shops in the so-called Northern Pier. This was revealed by Alberto Bissot, commercial manager of Tocumen SA.
The tourism boom that Panama has been having for five years has led companies and tour operators to hire more guides. In the country there are 700 certified guides, but it is projected that in the coming years this amount will not be sufficient to meet demand, especially during the cruise season.
Panama was released from the list of tax havens named by France, of which Costa Rica has also left along with nine other nations. This is a great step for the country, according to the international lawyer Gian Castillero, citing among the main benefits of being left off this discriminatory list, encouraging the arrival of French capital to the country and avoiding penalizing the citizens of that country using the Panamanian international service platform for the development of their activities.