Isthmian Update Some of the news in Panama

Politics: Doens calls

Navarro weak

The former general secretary of the Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD) Mitchell Doens, said that the attitude of the party’s presidential candidate, Juan Carlos Navarro, who held a meeting with president Ricardo Martinelli recently, is “an insult” to the intelligence of the party membership. He said: “This creates a major upset among the rank and file, because the party knows it needs a presidential candidate who is fighting the government and its policies, which Navarro does not do.” Elections are in May.

No bidders on ATLAPA

For the second time the Panama Tourism Authority (ATP) declared void the auction to sell the ATLAPA Convention Center and the 55,000 square meters on which the structure is built. No company showed interest in the property that has a value, as appraised by the Comptroller Office, and the Ministry of Economy and Finance, of $124.5 million.

Female entrepreneurs

The Convention Center facility at the City of Knowledge last week hosted the first Convention of Women Entrepreneurs of the Americas. The event was inaugurated with the participation of Catherine Russell, Ambassador Plenipotentiary of the United States for Global Women’s Issues. The convention is an initiative that was announced at the Summit of the Americas 2012, with the thought that investing in women is not only noble – but for smarter economic development.

Vietnam behind causes in Chiriquí

The Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in Panama, Nguyen Duy An, expressed interest in supporting agriculture, tourism, technology and education in the province of Chiriqui, during a meeting with the provincial governor, Aixa Santamaría. “We talked about Vietnam’s interest in supporting Chiriqui,” said Santamaria. Duy An said that for years the two nations have maintained positive friendships in commercial, political and social fields, and have signed several agreements.

Panama’s Parliamentarian reports being “behind” on Millennium Goals

Last week, at the opening of the ninth American Forum of Parliamentarians, deputies were concerned about the potential threat to the economies of the region from effects of the global crisis. For the President of the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador, Siegfried Reyes, even though in the last fifteen years there has been an improvement in the economic situation and reduced poverty levels, “there is much to do.” Meanwhile, deputy Elias Castillo, of the Panama Assembly, said that two years since the expiry of the deadline for meeting the Millennium Development Goals, we are still very far from achieving them.

Peru uses Panama as logistics hub for export products

More than 60% of Peruvian exports to the world pass through the Panama Canal, said the Panamanian commercial policy advisor in Lima, Marcelino Avilés. The official said on the portal elcomercio.pe that Panama “is a logistics center” for Peruvian exports, which “are redistributed to other parts of the world. A very small percentage of exports remain in our country. The rest just go to other parts of the world: Central America, the Caribbean, South America and Europe,” he said.

MIVIOT not to sell school lands, that would be up to MEDUCA

Eladio Ostia Pravia, Vice Minister of Housing and Land Management (MIVIOT), said that the land on which the three schools are located in the upscale, centrally-located neighborhoods of Punta Paitilla and San Francisco, will not be sold, despite the recent rezoning of the area. The official said the three schools will remain there until the Ministry of Education (MEDUCA) takes a firm decision on the possible sale of the land. He said that with the change of zoning in the area, this allows urban and commercial development.

Panamanian photo expo in Madrid

La Casa de America (Linares Palace) in Madrid will host a photo exposition of what Panama offers in natural attractions and social and cultural factors in a show opening on October 31. Work on the Canal will also be featured in “Wonders accompanying the Panama Canal. Running for six weeks, it is being organized by the Embassy of Panama in Spain and La Casa de America with twenty photographs by Panamanian artists such as Edwin Bermudez, Javier Gomez, Ramon H. Jury and Hanami Sohn.

Hiring season

During the first seven months of 2013 159,866 new contracts were signed with the Ministry of Labor and Workforce Development. The figure represents an increase of 14%, when compared with data for the same period last year. Human Resource Consultants note that companies will continue to increase their payrolls in the second half of this year, during which time they will increase their business.

No interest in maintaining scanners

The tender for the operation and maintenance of scanners for the National Customs Authority, which was initially rejected by the business sector, is now paralyzed after two proponents each filed claims against the process. The Consortium Cotecna and SGS Scanning Panama rejected the decision of the evaluation committee and requested disqualification of the winner, the Consortium of McMillan, Ebco, Nuctech.

Suits against journalists

The situation faced by journalists in Panama continues to generate concern. The lawsuits against journalists and difficult access to official information is a subject with which they have to deal daily. Then there are open threats from relatives of those in power and even officials. The newspaper La Prensa reported yesterday that to date, the criminal and civil proceedings in various courts against journalists total 54 in all. There are 11 criminal cases and 43 civil lawsuits.

Public debt

The public debt amounts to $4,630 in the pocket of every Panamanian, but it is estimated that next year (2014), when this presidential term finishes, this amount could reach up to $5,950 according to the daily La Estrella.

WTO move could ease CFZ woes over Colombia’s new import tariffs

The Minister of Commerce and Industry, Ricardo Quijano, said that for this month a panel should be formed at the World Trade Organization (WTO), to include other countries that sell products to Panama, in order to seek support and force Colombia to lower tariffs on products from the Colon Free Zone (CFZ). According to Quijano, even there (in Colombia) the decree has not benefited the citizenry at all. Instead has affected the consumer by the rising price of products.

Full FTA ahead

Mexico, Israel, Trinidad and Tobago are the countries that remain on the agenda for Panama to finalize trade agreements, said Diana Salazar, Deputy Minister of International Trade Negotiations. Salazar indicates that Mexico would be a priority to close the negotiations, because there is great marketing potential for products such as meat and seafood products, In the first year of the Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) with the United States, Panama has exported goods and services for $161 million, revealed the Deputy Minister of International Trade Negotiations, Diana Salazar.

Gunas ousting settlers  

An ultimatum given by the Guna General Congress of Madugandí to Latino settlers who inhabit lands in the Guna Yala Comarca to move out in the next 15 days, has created tension both among authorities and residents. “I am very concerned about this. It would be unfortunate to have confrontations between settlers and Indians, as we are locals,” said Agapito Barria, representing the district of Tortí, a community that is at the center of the territory, and the conflict. There alone, over 60 Latino families have settled in the Indian territory.

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