Business in Panama
Due to its central location, excellent connections and favorable business climate, Panama has been dubbed the ‘Hub of the Americas’. The country on the isthmus is a regional trade, logistics and financial center that has attracted many Dutch businesses. Companies such as Philips, Van Oord, Boskalis and Unilever have their regional head office here. But also many small companies are successful in Panama.
The country ranks as the fastest growing economy in Latin America with growth rates above 5% every year for the past 10 years. In addition, it also has the highest GDP per capita (PPP) of Latin America. Inflation and unemployment rates are the lowest of the region. Opportunities for Dutch companies lie primarily in the field of agro-logistics, maritime, retail, the water and the services sector.
Ease of Doing Business
Panama ranks 79th out of 190 countries in ease of doing business, according to the doing business report 2019 of the World Bank. Areas for improvement are paying taxes, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.
Setting up a business
Foreign companies usually set-up a “Sociedad Anonima” (corporation limited by shares) in Panama. For the registration of a company there are seven procedures that must be completed. In general, this takes about 6 working days and the related costs are around USD 600 (excluding legal fees) and increases if the company registers more capital stock. There are no initial capital requirements.