Isthmian Update Some of the news in Panama

Bad marks

Out of 144 countries surveyed, Panama was placed 132 for its very compromised judicial independence and in 103 for “obvious influence peddling” by the World Economic Forum, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

Absurd and unjust

As absurd and unjust is how the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Ricardo Quijano, described the high tariffs imposed by Colombia for export of footwear and textiles. Quijano said they want to protect their local industry, but Colombian consumers are therefore paying more expensive prices for clothing and footwear products that are important to their everyday lives.

Airport investments

Acording to the ATP, investments of around $189 million in improvements and construction of airports within the country will attract more tourism and create new jobs, not only in the service sector, but also in real estate and commercial sectors. Of the eight existing airports, the Enrique Malek in Chiriqui and Bocas Town, in Bocas del Toro, are of international standard, and Scarlett Martinez in Cocle and Enrique A. Jimenez in Colón are both under construction and will also be world-class.

Japan to finance third Metro

The governments of Panama and Japan reached an agreement for financing the Metro line 3 in Panama City and a new bridge over the Canal, it was officially reported by Panama’s Foreign Minister, Fernando Nunez Fábrega. The proposed Metro line 3 will connect the capital with the nearby towns of Arraijan and La Chorrera, across the Canal, and will be “the most advanced technology that is available for this type of work,” he explained in a statement.

Metro in February

At the “Infrastructure is Great” meeting carried out by the British Chamber of Commerce (BritCham), Metro Secretary Roberto Roy announced that the Metro Line 1 will be inaugurated on February 28, 2014.

Tax revenue up

The collection of tax revenue was $3.1 billion in the first six months of this year, representing an increase of $192.3 million (6%) over the same period of 2012, according to the National Authority of Public Revenue (Anip).

Cost of living continues to rise

The basic family food basket has not stopped increasing this year. Last May the basic family food basket, which is used to measure the cost of living for poor families in Panama, came to $327.50 per month This means that the staples were up $13.70 or 4.4% compared to the price a year ago, according to the latest report from the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF).

Promoting US trade

As part of efforts to promote investment by foreign companies in Panama, and also increase exports of goods and services from Panama to the United States, the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama (CCIAP) held an event in order to inform businessmen about the Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) with the United States. The president of the CCIAP, José Luis Ford, expressed confidence in the growth figures. However, he believes that more use could still be made to benefit from trade relations with the US.

Spain considers Central American railroad

In Central America, there is interest in reviving the old project to create a rail link from Panama to Mexico, and Spain has the capacity to help build it, said the Spanish Secretary for Infrastructure, Rafael Catala. Speaking to the opening session of Spanish ambassadors of America, in Panama, Catalan said that he made a brief visit to Guatemala this week and found interest in reviving the plan.

Stabilization of electricity prices

The Cabinet approved the transfer of $35.7 million for a Rate Stabilization Fund (TEF) in order to stabilize the prices of electricity through the transfer of funds to the electricity distribution companies. The transfer of funds to the Electricity Distribution Company, S. A. (ETESA) will be made through the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF).

180 conventions per year

International events have not only benefited the hospitality industry, but the country has become an important meeting point in the region for the development of conventions, which have increased in recent years, projected to create income in 2013 of about $40.5 million.

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