MONEY FLOWS IN
In 2011 Panama received $2,790 million in foreign direct investment (FDI) or $440 million more than in 2010. The special arrangement for the establishment and operation of headquarters of multinationals continued to attract investments, as did infrastructure works such as enlargement of the Canal and building of the Metro. Last year the Central American FDI received $8,246 million, representing an increase of 36% over the previous year. Panama had the highest amount of foreign investment, followed by Costa Rica.
The investment bank J.P. Morgan anticipates that the Panamanian economy will grow 7.5% in 2012, a prospect “enviable” for other economies, driven by increased revenue of the canal and the activity of the tourism industry. In parallel, the Government fixed the expected growth of 7.5% to 10%, and ECLAC said that the country will grow by 6.5%.
HELP FOR AGRICULTURE
In March 2012 the agricultural sector received a total of $381.9 million from the Panamanian government banks, of which $7.3 million was from the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) and the remaining $374.6 million from the Banco Nacional de Panama (BNP).
TRADE WITH EUROPE
Panama is staking its business strategy with Europe in a race against time. In June it signed the Association Agreement between the European Union (EU) and Central America (in which Panama participated) said Jose Martinez, of the EU delegation to Costa Rica and Panama. Countries just need to ratify the document to apply the new rules. However, unlike Central America, Panama needs to join the “Central American Economic Integration Subsystem” to qualify for trade benefits.
LINK WITH HOLLAND
Panama will open an embassy in The Hague, in the Netherlands. For Foreign Minister Roberto Henriquez, the action is given in return for the opening of the embassy of that country in Panama, months ago. However, the Panamanian Foreign Minister, who is touring European countries, did not reveal the person who will occupy that position. During his visit to the Netherlands, Foreign Minister Henríquez met with his counterpart Uriel Rosenthal to discuss matters of interest to both countries.
CRUISE SHIP SUED
Adrian Vasquez, the fisherman of Rio Hato who was the sole survivor of the drifting to the Galapagos islands of a small boat in February, sued the US shipping company Princess Cruises, which owns the cruise ship “Star Princess”, “for refusing to rescue the group at sea”. Vasquez’s lawyer, former prosecutor Edna Ramos, revealed that the complaint was made to a federal court in Florida against Princess Cruises Limited for damages against the three crew of the boat “Fifty Cents”.
China has been changing with the development of its economy and this has also gone hand in hand with the increase in the price of goods bought in the Asian country. Companies are seeking places to invest and get better costs for customers. Panama may be one of the sites for these entrepreneurs to invest their money. Business analysts do not rule out this possibility and even believe that Panama could become an industrial power.
The Fitch Ratings agency has rated banks well in Panama in recent months. Global Bank Corporation (GBC) will increase the national qualification in Panama to ‘A + (pan)’ with stable outlook. The increase in the rating of GBC arises after receiving information that reflects a significant improvement in their levels of capitalization and supports the expectation that it will be sustainable over the coming years.
President Ricardo Martinelli traveled to Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago to participate in the Forum Caribbean Investment forum in which he talked about the country’s economic performance and its role as a regional logistics hub. According to the General Secretariat of State Communications, Martinelli was the keynote speaker at the meeting, which has led to trip number 56 since the president began his term in 2009.
In Panama there is an oversupply of jobs and there are many openings to be filled, but it becomes very difficult to get this labor. This was stated by Samuel Vargas, president of the Employment Department of the Ministry of Labor and Workforce Development (Mitradel). According to Vargas, people are demanding a Monday to Friday positions and a high salary. “That’s why they say they cannot find work because they are looking for opportunities where they are not suitable for their lack of preparation,” he said.
Sylvia Cesaratto, the Canadian Ambassador to Panama, explained to a group of manufacturers, exporters and representatives of the private sector, the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and Panama, which is to enter into force, said the Union of Industrialists of Panama.
The former Colombian president Cesar Gaviria Trujillo warned that if Panama does not make good use of resources that it generates from the canal, it runs the danger of creating a form of “petrolanization” of the economy. “The booms have to be well managed, otherwise they end up hurting the economy and political system,” he said while expressing concern about the weakness of institutions in Central America