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  1. Before starting any business, apart from the study and analysis of the market, profitability and competition, you should investigate the legal requirements in order to execute your entrepreneurial idea. Certain economic activities require a special commercial license. Although in Panama there are not as many restrictions as in other countries when it comes to starting your own business, there are certain commercial activities that are exclusively reserved for nationals. This limitation is based on Article 20 of the Constitution of the Republic of Panama, which establishes that Panamanians and foreigners are equal before the law, but for reasons of labor, national economy, morality, health, public safety and other conditions, the exercise of certain activities may be denied to foreigners in general. Which activities are reserved for nationals? Retail in general is reserved for Panamanians. That is to say, the direct sale of products to the Consumer (B2C). But it is possible to sell wholesale products (B2B) to distributors, supermarkets or other stores that sell directly to the customer. It is also possible to import and export products or merchandise. And, there are certain exceptions when it comes to agricultural products that you produce yourself on your own your farm and then sell them (example farmer's market). The so-called "liberal professions" in Panama require a special permit and can only be performed by Panamanians by birth or foreigners with a letter of naturalization. These include the following professional branches: Nursing, Barbering and cosmetology (there are exceptions for foreigners married to Panamanian nationals), Dentistry, Engineering (Civil, Chemical and Forestry are not allowed, the rest are), Architecture (there are exceptions for foreigners married to nationals), Agricultural Sciences, Pharmacy, Chiropractors, Nutrition, Medicine, Psychology, Medical Assistants, Accountancy, Journalism, Laboratorians, Public Relations, Speech Therapists, Therapists and the like, Economics, Social Workers, Veterinary Medicine, Physiotherapy, Medical Radiology, Law, Dental Assistants, Sociology, Chemistry, Sociology, Chemistry, Education in the following fields: History, Geography and Civics. (The rest of the fields are allowed). If I studied a career in medicine or nursing, can I practice it directly in Panama as a foreigner? The answer is no. Unless you are naturalized and your degree is recognized in Panama, you cannot. But what you can do is to incorporate a company in Panama (for example, a private clinic or an agency offering nursing services) and be the owner of that company and hiring licensed Panamanian employees to perform the service under your supervision. For the activities of engineering, architecture, insurance, real estate companies, certain tourism companies (such as travel agencies or tour operators) among others, there is a special rule that says that the president and legal representative of the company must be the person who holds the license to exercise that economic activity. In that case, it is possible to hire a person with said license, but it is the company that provides the service. The same company of which you are the owner. You would be the one who manages and administrates the company and provides instructions based on your experience and knowledge in that field. But it will be your company together with your collaborators, that will execute the work and carry out the commercial activity. You may not be able to validate your architectural degree in Panama (or it may be a little difficult to do so), but it is possible for you to have your own construction company. Which activities are allowed for foreigners in Panama? Services and wholesale activities are accessible to foreigners. This means that you can open a hostel or B&B, you can open a restaurant, import and/or export products, work remotely offering (digital) services to customers anywhere in the world, invest in real estate and live on rent and much more. In fact we have clients all over Panama who operate touristic and/or gastronomic companies, who are owners of hostels, hotels and restaurants, who produce strawberries, tofu or grow gourmet coffee, who are involved in construction, real estate projects or real estate investment, who offer maritime services, who provide IT services to clients in Germany, logistics services, who sell digital products or software, real estate agents and property managers, who work remotely as freelancers for clients in Europe and/or the United States, who buy nails in Taiwan and sell them to European companies, and much more. As corporate lawyer I am passionate about entrepreneurship and new business set-ups, and there are endless opportunities and entrepreneurial ideas to discover. Tell me about your experience. What is your business idea?
  2. On December 3rd, 2020 the President of Panama announced the creation of a new type of legal entity called “Startup Company" in order to increase entrepreneurship in Panama, facilitating the formalization of companies and at the same time providing tax incentives for new startups. How can I create a new startup company? Two to five natural persons, of any nationality, may form a startup company in Panama. The subscribers of the articles of incorporation will be at the same time the partners and therefore the final beneficiaries of the company. Unlike other company types in Panama, this information will be publicly available. But in order to avoid the abuse of the benefits and incentives for this type of company, no natural person who was previously part of a startup company will be able to belong to another startup company. The new startup companies are similar to the limited liability companies in Spain. The economic liability of each partner for the obligations contracted by the company will be limited to the amount of their participation made or promised. The minimum capital of the company is US$500 and can be contributed by the partners in money, goods, or services. It is possible to transform an already existing company (as long as it has not been operating for more than three years) into a startup company, and thus take advantage of the benefits and incentives of this new figure. Administration of the startup company As with Spanish limited companies, startup companies will have at least one administrator. The administrator must always be one of the partners and can celebrate or carry out all the activities and contracts related to the operations of the company. An interesting detail is that the new startup companies do not require a resident agent. All companies and private interest foundations in Panama must have a registered resident agent (a licensed attorney or law firm in the Republic of Panama that acts as a point of contact between the company and the national authorities). In the case of the new startup companies, the appointment of a resident agent is optional. If the startup company does not have a resident agent, the administrator must be assigned as the legal representative and contact person for the authorities. In addition, the domicile and physical address where the offices of the startup company will be located must be registered. What are the advantages and incentives for the new startup companies? Startup companies will be exempt from paying income tax during the first two (2) years of their operation. In addition, they do not have to pay the annual franchise tax and will be exempt from using a cash register (but they must issue electronic invoices and manage an electronic invoicing system). Additionally, the startup companies will be able to apply for a discount for up to 50% on the import taxes of the raw materials required by the company for the creation of its products, services, or innovative processes. What kind of economic activity can be carried out with a startup company? Startup companies may execute any legal economic activity, but may only operate within the Republic of Panama. In addition, startup companies must not be used to carry out one or more of the following activities: Companies operating in one of Panama's free trade zones Casinos, gaming, gambling, and similar activities Developer companies, real estate agents, or brokers Construction companies and contractors Security transport companies Pawnshops Commercialization of precious metals or gems Buying and selling new and used cars Legal and/or accounting services (lawyers, accountants) Startup companies must not be listed on the stock exchange. There is a limit of one million US dollars gross income per fiscal year in order to qualify for the tax benefits of the startup companies. If the company's income exceeds this amount, it must transform into another type of corporate body in order to continue operating. Curious? For more information, contact us for a free video consultation!
  3. Do You Want to Expand to the LATAM Market? Consider These Three Key Factors Due to the current situation caused by COVID-19, we can observe an explosive growth in online sales. This ongoing trend brings new business opportunities, as well as new ways to access the Latin American market (LATAM) for entrepreneurs from Europe, the United States, and Canada. The LATAM e-commerce market is expected to grow by 29% from 2020 to 2024. 25% of online customers made their first online purchase in March of this year. The products with the highest online sales in LATAM include computers and accessories, home appliances, clothing and shoes, tools and building materials, home accessories, and furniture. But in order to sell successfully online, you have to analyze and study the consumers, their preferences, and local tastes, as well as cultural differences. For this reason, in this week’s Blog, I have summarized three key factors to consider when expanding or starting your online business in LATAM: 1. Web Design In the virtual world the website of any business, store, or professional service is a business card to the outside world. Just like any restaurant, hotel, dental clinic or law firm tries to create a pleasant physical space to receive their diners, guests or clients. The creation of a business web space should follow the same concept to receive its virtual clients. When creating a website for the LATAM market local consumers expect its content to be visually pleasing, fast website navigation, and preferably a chatbot that is available 24/7 to answer the most urgent questions. LATAM online consumers appreciate the ability to purchase without registering and a variety of payment methods which, of course, should ensure a safe shopping experience. 2. Marketing and Customer Interaction The typical LATAM online consumer is young and likes technology. 85% of the population in LATAM is an active user of social networks, the most popular being Whatsapp, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, and Twitter. This is why network marketing campaigns and constant interaction with customers are key in the online expansion into the LATAM market. The communication methods preferred by consumers are email (57%), text messages (27%), via a business' own mobile app (26%), Facebook (23%), Whatsapp (10%), and Instagram (10%). 3. Seasons and Shopping Campaigns Let's be honest, we're all bargain hunters. The typical LATAM consumer loves bargains. It's very common to wait for a special campaign or sale to make purchases. In the retail sector, 78% of sales are made for Christmas, 68% for Black Friday, 58% for Cyber Monday, 53% for Mother's Day, and 52% for Valentine's Day. Other special occasions for smart spenders are Children's Day, Father's Day and Back to School. Before launching a new business or expanding your existing company into the Latin American market, remember to study and analyze the preferences of your market and your future customers. Although LATAM is a large market with a lot of potentials, it is necessary to fragment the various regions taking into account that there are cultural and traditional differences along with specific local characteristics and challenges.
  4. On March 14th, 2018, in a matter of minutes, the public announcement regarding the closing down of the law firm, which played a leading role in the well-known "Panama Papers", is being published worldwide. The law firm Mossack Fonseca & Co., Bufete MF & Co. or Grupo Mossack & Fonseca has closed its activities on the 30th of April, 2018, in all of its branch offices around the world, including its head quarter in Panama City. In Panama, the "offshore" incorporation and financial business sector is an important pillar for the national economy, and sustains almost 50% of the service sector. What are the consequences for the affected clients? Change of Resident Agent According to Article No. 2 of Law No. 32 of February 26th, 1927 all corporate bodies in Panama must have, mandatorily, a registered agent or resident agent in Panama; which can be a law firm or a practicing lawyer that represents the corporate body in Panama. If the corporation is left without resident agent (due to the resignation thereof), it will only have a period of 90 days to appoint and register a new resident agent in the Mercantile Section of the Public Registry of Panama. Otherwise, the Panamanian government will proceed to fine the affected corporation and will inactivate its status through official order. Inactive Corporations In September 2017, by means of the Resolution No. 201-5612, the process for the inactivation of corporations due to arrearage in payment of the mandatory annual franchise tax for more than three (3) consecutive years has been approved. In the past, after ten (10) years of not paying the annual franchise tax, the affected corporations were dissolved by official order. With the change of this legal base, thousands of corporations in Panama are currently "inactivated" by the tax collector office (DGI for its acronym in Spanish), which also affects their status in the Mercantile Section of the Public Registry, often without knowledge of the owners (foreign shareholders) of said corporations. For the reactivation of an inactivated corporation, a fine of one thousand US Dollars (USD$1,000.00) must be paid to the competent authority (additionally to the payment of the pending franchise tax plus interests), and the reinstatement of the corporation must be requested formally at the Panamanian tax collector office. Later on, the tax collector office must inform the Public Registry of the re-activation of the corporation, which will then reset the original status. Illegal Use of "Offshore" Corporations The incorporation of an "offshore" corporation does not constitute an illegality in itself, since the crime depends on the purposes for which it was created. Such as defrauding the treasury, money laundry, drug trafficking or other criminal intentions being the leading objective of the "offshore" corporation, where the main characters involved prefer to hide in the shadows. Although an "offshore" corporation offers greater autonomy to manage a business, it does not grant the right to commit crimes. It is for that reason that the Panamanian government has established certain transparency laws, binding for financial and non-financial individuals, including lawyers and accountants, obligating these professionals to report any suspicious activity or any potential tax evasion to the competent authority. Transparency in Legal Proceedings It is for that reason, that each case must be considered individually, in order to assure that the objective of the "offshore" corporation complies with the established rules and regulations in order to guarantee its ethical and legal operation at all time. The creation of an "offshore" corporate body may help to reduce its tax burden in a meaningful manner. But this does not mean that the tax laws in the country of origin may be or can be fully avoided. Trying to hide money from the tax system in the country of origin is deemed as an unlawful use of an "offshore" corporation. Elimination of the "Offshore" Type Corporation Through Resolution No. 201-1254 issued by the tax collector office of Panama (DGI) and published in the Official Gazette on the 9th of March 2018, the categorization of corporations has been restructured. From now on Panamanian corporations will be categorized by the fact that their income derivates from a Panamanian source, or not, with the purpose of establishing their tax obligations in Panama and abroad. Corporations that derivate their income from a Panamanian source (as low as its percentage may be), will be determined as "type A", and are obligated to file an annual income tax return (ISR for its acronym in Spanish) or an Income Affidavit with the Panamanian tax office. Those corporations that are only incorporated for the purpose of ownership of a certain asset or real estate property ("holding"), that do not conduct any business, nor derivate any income from a Panamanian source, or if their income is derived 100% from a foreign source ("offshore"), are considered "type B", and therefore, are not obligated to file an annual income tax return with the Panamanian authorities nor declare their income, since these corporations are currently tax-exempted. The "E-tax" System and Income Tax Return in Panama It is important to mention that those corporations that did not declare the origin of their income at the time of their registration, must do it now, by updating their information in the "e-tax" system, in order to avoid that the tax collector office in Panama will fine them for not submitting the annual income tax return on time. Gomez Tomiczek International Group
  5. AllAboutBoquete.com - https://allaboutboquete.com - https://facebook.com/allaboutboquete - has launched! AllAboutBoquete.com features free business listings, classified ads and community events calendar. It is time to get Boquete wired and online. Let's move business forward. List your company, ad or event today. Shortcuts: Home & directory page: https://allaboutboquete.com Classified ads: https://www.allaboutboquete.com/Classified/ Community events calendar: https://www.allaboutboquete.com/Events/ Add your company listing: https://www.allaboutboquete.com/Directory/ListingEdit.aspx Add a classified ad: https://www.allaboutboquete.com/Classified/ListingEdit.aspx Add an event: https://www.allaboutboquete.com/Events/ListingEdit.aspx
  6. This is an excellent article, albeit long, dealing with the growth of business in Panama which is occurring as a result of the Canal expansion. From the Martes Financiero or Tuesday Financial edition of LaPrensa. The Load is Multiplied SHERLY DÍAZ / ÓSCAR CASTAÑO freetranslation,com ..partial edit by me. During the ten years it took for the construction of the widening of the Panama Canal, a total of 431 companies participated in this megawork of engineering. Some provided inputs for the construction. Other services provided energy, dredging, bunkering, technical support or logistical solutions. Of that total, 267 companies appear as contractors to the Panama Canal Authority, and another 264 as subcontractors. The List, which includes both local companies and foreign, is a clear example of economic dynamism as they developed the work on enlargement in which 5 billion dollars would be invested. A study of the maritime chamber of Panama, entitled Economic Impact of the Maritime Sector of Panama, which dates back to the year 2014, reveals that this activity came to generate for the country 9,769,800,000 dollars, of which only the channel represented 53.8 per cent of the entire industry. The other 46.2% or its equivalent of $4.5 billion dollars is divided into 12 sectors. The first four: port, with thousand 477.9 million (15.1%); sale of fuel, with 891.6 million dollars (9.1%); agencies and shipping lines, with $850 million (8.7%) and fisheries, with 427.5 million (4.4%), among others. (See table: Segments by Panama Maritime activity). After the enlargement of the waterway that serves the world, a range of opportunities opened that many companies viewed during the building of the work. This process allowed them to prepare to meet the diverse needs of the activities linked to the maritime activities and logistics of the country. Rommel Troetsch, president of the maritime chamber of Panama, maintains that during the expansion of the waterway a movement was generated in the loading of containers such that some of the shipping agencies who came to this project decided to stay and maintain operations in the country not only to serve the local market, but for the region and even South America. "Panama has emerged as a maritime center of America, and in a business opportunity," stresses Troetsch. The Panama Canal records about 14 thousand transits of ships a year, which has been well used by several companies to provide these boats maintenance services, repair of radars or electronic equipment, to name just a few. This is not a new business in the country, but these companies displayed the possibility of strengthening its operations to contemplate the installation of its permanent operations center in the isthmus to address such a fleet of boats in Panama. Or at least agencies of representation. And due to the fact that the country is a hub air facilitates the arrival of crews of ships from other destinations, and from here they can address and disembark from ships. "This is a topic that is historically in Panama and in which it is increasingly consolidating as a center of change of crew". The Opportunities Members of the maritime sector and logistical coincide that in the country there are many opportunities to exploit. Specifically there are three segments in which must be special emphasis: in the center of the transshipment of cargo and in the sale of both fuel to vessels as of supplies to these vessels. Some of them maintain that there is a bet on the growth of the Center for the transshipment of cargo of Panama. For this it is necessary to increase port capacity, although this year saw a drop of 13 per cent for the transshipment of cargo during the first five months of 2016 compared with the same period of last year. Troetsch notes that it is necessary to revise this business model to make it more efficient and to attract more cargo. It is even a topic being evaluated with the local authorities. The shipping agencies seek savings and the country should continue to promote trans-shipment for which the country will grow it's maritime services. The second objective to join is the service of the sale of bunker to boats. It is estimated that the annual sales of fuel to these ships is 900 million dollars. The country serves only between 13% to 15% of all vessels transiting the Canal. There is a potential market. And the sale of supplies to vessels, such as food, beverages, refrigerated products, dry, consumption of lubricants, fuel, ship repairs, change of crew, review the equipment or maintenance. A study of the maritime chamber of Panama of four years ago revealed the sale of 32 million dollars in supplies to these vessels. Currently built are auxiliary maritime services docks. All these products for the boats are ferried between the mainland and the point where the vessels are anchored. To bring these supplies to the boat in anchor requires this type of infrastructure. "A dock is key so that I can load the food, the crew, supplies and bring them to the ship that are in the anchor waiting transit", added the president of the maritime chamber of Panama. It adds that the country lacks a better organization between the Government and private enterprise, and make the studies to sell more maritime services correlated with the load, the boat and the crew. The Captain Carlos Garcia, general manager of Panama Pilot Services Corp., considers that after the enlargement of the waterway there is a greater dynamism in the logistics sector, but pointed out that their growth depends on the efficiency, productivity and quality of the service that is offered to the ships. "Panama has to compete with Jamaica, Cartagena, Limon and Moin, in Costa Rica. It should be better prices and quality of service," adds Garcia. Panama Pilot Services is a company of pilotage of ships with 20 years of service in the bay of Manzanillo. The manager explains that the Panamanian ports are preferably for the transshipment of cargo: 80% in transit and the 20% remains in the country. Each year pass through the channel a total of 348 million tons of cargo, under the system of universal tonnage of vessels of the Panama Canal. That is expected to be replicated after the widening of the waterway. García anticipates that the challenge for auxiliary enterprises will grow and therefore the ports were conditioned in its part logistics to respond ships neopanamax. Some of the attentions mostly sued lie in the supply of fuel and food or the maintenance of the ships. "You must expand the entire logistics system, but this depends on the efficiency and productivity in the quality of the services provided". The operation is simple for Panama Pilot Services. Expert in pilotage and in services of boats, if you increase the volume of ships will the income. "We need to increase the labor force, either practical or for floating path". The fact that these ships pass through the channel does not mean that stop in our waters, and it is there where other countries in the region compete to see how "we steal the mandate, as is said in good Panama," says Surse Pierpoint, general manager of the Colon Free Zone (FTA) and member of the Cabinet Logistics Panama. Pierpoint says that unlike the panamax ships, with a capacity for 5 thousand TEU, which are gradually disappearing, maritime waters are now beginning to colmars "The challenge for us is to keep a lot of competitiveness to meet these boats. Because for us in the Colon Free Zone is key that the boat stop and lower the load. Because the costs of operating are increasing and we cannot remain outside the jurisdiction in costs," warns. While Pierpoint qualifies as "difficult" business opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises in the free zone after the expansion of the Canal. Lack of a network of factories suppliers in Asia, not to say China, and a good structure to be able to be projected with this advantage in the region. For a small company in the FTA that invoice less of 10 million dollars per year is difficult to grow product of the rise in the cost of products in Asia, the behavior of the Chinese economy and a fall in demand in Latin America for the cooling of the demand. "It is an uncertain situation and uncertain at the moment. From the point of view of cost there are highly qualified people looking for work, Bodegas very cheap, so that the entrepreneur who sees opportunities is the one that sells handkerchiefs when others are crying." Experience Maxindustrias supplemented the Panama Canal of the slings of steel cables to load lifting maneuvers. Press/Eric Batista Some of the companies that participated as suppliers of products for the Panama Canal in its enlargement put to the test the quality of its product offering and logistics capacity. One of these companies is Maxindustrias, which provided services and solutions to the channel for maneuvers of lifting the load and made-to-measure solutions according to the need of the customer, recalls Fernando Lara, commercial director of This Panamanian company. Ariel González, Commercial Counselor of the industrial area, explains that the company met with staff of the Panama Canal to know their needs throughout the project, mainly of inputs for the hoisted. For example, you needed chains and belts of burden of high tonnage and in large quantities, but before the project the company could only manage these volumes in a period of one year. The logistics aspect was another challenge every time they needed to quote these inputs on the outside, but in sizes, colors and very specific capabilities. Once arrived the containers had to check very carefully every detail of the material: "If they were of a foot or two feet long," says Gonzalez. Pedro Castillo, head of industrial sales, adds that for the maneuvers that were carried out in the construction of the accuracy of these details was very important because it worked at times with a very narrow margin of error and ensured the safety of personnel in the work and equipment. The experience that won Maxindustrias as suppliers of the widening of the Panama Canal were now serves as a reference for addressing other markets. It has a presence throughout Central America, the Caribbean and part of South America. Another multiplier effect of the work is that companies that provide the boats with what is necessary for its operation, requested products used during the construction in excellent condition, as new. Gonzalez said that some of the companies present on the occasion of the works in the waterway to the that they supplemented products, remained in the country demanding their services. An opportunity that the company did not despise. In the same way that local companies offered their services to the channel when it became the enlargement of the waterway; they also made the same companies that came from abroad. An example of this is to either Energy Group, composed of a handful of companies. The company serves via Ship Management Panama, to manage boats with regard to crews or maintenance; Nolkata Management, a representative shipping company that offers services of agency, transit and water supply; Energy Company is responsible for the purchase and sale of fuel; and San Martin Group to manage boats from the group in Venezuela. Has a barge in Venezuela that supplies fuel to the power plant of the city of Maracaibo; and in Panama has two boats: one in the Atlantic and another in the Pacific. Pedro Suira and Johana Corner, spokesmen of the company, explained that the company opened operations in Panama five years ago, motivated by enlargement. The interest of the group in the country has emerged in its status as a strategic point for the transit of vessels. World Began with supply of bunker, and little by little founded the other companies. Now, with a channel already expanded, the company has the expectation that improve the traffic volume because it is expected the arrival of more ships and larger. "By now our strong is the fuel and you can sell more fuel. In greater quantity and equally with the auxiliary services we have how to provide water, lower rain water, such as delivering parts, and then we can offer more products on a larger scale in many more boats". Panama Marine Services, expert in maritime services, says that the scenario for the logistics sector with the expansion of the Canal brings new challenges of logistics to having to diversify in accordance with the requirements of the clients. "Our company has an estimate of higher growth of our market with the arrival of the ships neopanamax. In the first month of the extended Channel passed 55 boats. Our company is ready to continue to grow along with that market" say their spokespersons. To meet these new requirements the company made an investment in new infrastructure and equipment to be able to continue its existing and future customers those services and better quality products of world class in the shortest possible time. Reveal that in its new winery maintain a sustainable inventory for six months and thus cover the orders of their customers in regard to painting, Life rafts and chemicals. The maritime world in Panama is opening up a world of opportunities in various edges. It now takes advantage of this possibility or simply other take advantage. http://www.martesfinanciero.com/history/2016/08/09/informe_central.asp
  7. Casa Decor Boquete is a unique business. This consignment store offers a place for those who have gently used, almost new home furnishings and home decor or collectibles a clean, modern attractive venue to show off their items for sale. Open Tuesday to Saturday 10 am to 5 pm. This store offers art and jewelry exhibits by local craftspeople as well as gifts for all occasions. You may email your photos of items for sale to consignndesign4u@gmail.com or call during business hours 6674 1721. Located in the Paso Alto building across from Dorado in Alto Boquete.
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