Legal and Economic Updates and Business Oppotunities in 🇵🇦

PMA Updates
I Edition - 2019


On May 5th the presidential elections were held in Panama, being the elected president Laurentino Cortizo, with a narrow margin of votes, which were defined by only two percentage points of difference.

The president-elect's government plan includes improving education, reforming the state, boosting the economy, fighting poverty and inequality, and improving government transparency. The new government will assume office on July 1, 2019. 

  • Panama elects new President of the Republic
  • Multiple Entry Visas enter into force between Panama and China
  • Controls in banking and fiduciary transactions
  • Panama's investment grade rises
  • Panamanian Ship Registry aimed at online payment
  • Panama next to be considered a permanent member of the Tokyo MOU
  • Investment Opportunities
  • New legislation: Fiscal Fraud; Data Protection; Medical Devices
  • Plastic bags banned in Panama
  • Online procedures for exporters and free zones
  • New Logistics Corridor in the Panama Canal
  • News from our office
    Marítimo Panamá
    Panamanian Ship Registry aimed at online payment  

    The Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) called for a tender to establish online payment for the services provided by the entity, seeking to streamline the processes and modernization of the ship registration system.

    Our Partner, Belisario Porras, when interviewed by the newspaper Capital Financiero, described the online payment initiative as excellent, because one of the main problems in relation to the existing funnel, in the different bureaucratic processes of the Registry, is precisely the payment.  READ MORE+
    Panama next to be considered a permanent member of the Tokyo MOU

    After a recent five-day audit, called "fact-finding mission", Panama is moving from cooperating member to permanent member of Tokyo MOU, one of the most active organizations in the maritime industry in the world. The audit showed that ships flying the Panamanian flag operating in the Asia-Pacific region meet international standards for maritime safety and... READ MORE+

    Panama's investment grade rises

    E In the first four months of 2019, Panama received two investment grade increases, the first one granted by Moody's, which upgraded the long-term issuer rating in foreign currency from Baa2 to Baa1; and recently Standard and Poor's raised Panama's risk rating from BBB to BBB +, with a stable perspective.

    This upgrade in the ratings represents a considerable advance in the international recognition of the orderly management of public finances and the sustained growth of its economy. Since 2012, Panama has not received an investment grade increase.

    Multiple entry visas agreement
    Since May 2, the agreement to grant Multiple Entry Visas for 5 years for ordinary passport holders for business, tourism or family visit between Panama and the People's Republic of China has been in effect.

    Controls in banking and fiduciary transactions

    As from May 2019, foreign clients must declare before banks of the Panamanian banking system that their funds comply with the tax requirements of their country. This has been established in Agreement 02-2019 of the Superintendency of Banks of Panama (SBP) in which the recommendations of the Financial Action Group are implemented, which consists of extending the due diligence measures of banks to their customers.

    Plastic bags banned in Panama

    As of July 19, 2019, Law 1 of 2018 enters into force, prohibiting the use of plastic bags in commercial establishments in Panama.
    Meanwhile, the warehouses and wholesalers will have until January 20, 2020 to remove plastic bags from their premises.
    This law will not apply when the bags are to store cold food or supplies that contemplate moisture, whether processed or prefabricated.

     Advanced issues found
    Investment opportunities in the Republic of Panama, in force as of May 2019. To know requirements and scope of Bids please contact our specialists in Public Contracting Khatiya Asvat and Joaquín De Obarrio.

    • US$ 12 million for construction of water treatment plant
    • US$ 5.8 million for landfill rehabilitation
    • US$ 5.4 million for sports infrastructure
    • US$ 16.2 million for educational infrastructure
    Click for details

    Fiscal Fraud
    Law No. 70 of January 2019

    Data Protection
    Law No. 81 of March 26, 2019 

    Medical Devices

    On May 2, Executive Decree No. 83 was published, which regulates Law 90 of December 26, 2017.

    The Republic of Panama has promulgated Law 79 of March 20, 2019, by whereby a moratorium is granted with respect to fines and surcharges generated for non-payment of real estate taxes and debts with the Social Security Fund.

    The moratorium is valid until June 30, 2019.

    Patton, Moreno & Asvat can assist you with the payment of your obligations so that you can take advantage of the moratorium. Ask us at |

    Online procedures for exporters and free zones

    As of April, exporters and companies established in free trade zones of Panama, governed by Law 32 of 2011, can carry out the procedures of Commercial Movement Declaration, Certification of Origin and Determination of Origin online through the Customs Management Integration System (SIGA), which is part of the Foreign Trade Single Window (VUCE).

    The ACP will tender the Dry Cargo Logistics Area in 2019

    The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) expects to tender in the coming months the construction of the Dry Cargo Logistics Area in 55 hectares located near the Centennial Bridge, in the North area of the Canal Logistics Project, one of the most ambitious projects it is intended to build over 1,200 hectares.   

    New Logistics Corridor in the Panama Canal

    The Panama Canal recently inaugurated the Logistics Corridor (CLC), in the Pacific, a highway that will serve ports, industrial parks, factories and distribution centers in an agile and safe manner. Part of the road, which was initially used for the Canal's internal operations, has been reconditioned for the use of cargo trucks, through the payment of tolls, in accordance with the new business plan to enhance the expanded Canal.

    The entire route of the road is monitored by technology, which allows detecting the violation of the established speed norms, or if the vehicle has stopped in full swing, in which case the necessary assistance will be given. The toll has been established in B / .6.50 per transit, and the trucks that will use the said corridor must affiliate to the Cargo Pass system.
     Advanced issues found

    Legal Disclaimer

    The content and the opinions expressed on this publication have been provided for information purposes only. It should not be relied on as a substitute for specific legal advice on any particular topic. If you require advice or have questions or comments on its subject, please speak to your usual contact at Patton Moreno & Asvat.


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