Isthmian Update – Vol. 20#21

More electricity

In the next year and a half 13 hydroelectric projects should be operational and will provide 200 additional megawatts to the national grid. However, due to increased demand and consumption, the contributions of small generators will not help to diminish the pressure on the current system. It will not be until 2019 when the new, large plants enter the system, that a difference will be made.

Shipping giants leave the Canal

About $75 million a year will no longer be received by the Panama Canal due to the temporary withdrawal of some shipping services of the Maersk Line in 2013, and Evergreen in May of this year. Both companies moved their services to the Suez Canal to use post-panamax ships with dimensions that cannot pass the present waterway.

Well connected

The measure for assessing internet penetration in the population is the percentage of the people who actually use it. According to estimates by Datanalisis – Digital Trends, internet penetration in Panama was 44% of the total population in 2013, the equivalent of 1,672,000 users. These figures place Panama in tenth place on a base of 20 countries in Latin America.

Venezuela and Panama resume diplomatic relations

Two months after the severance of diplomatic relations between the governments of Panama and Venezuela, authorities are seeking to reactivate consular services between the two countries. The Panamanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement in which it reported that it is handling a request from the Venezuelan government to resume consular relations in Caracas and that, in return, Venezuela will reopen its consulate in Panama City.

Convention mecca

Panama City climbed ten places to become number 6 of American nations in the 2013 rankings of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA). In 2012, Panama had only 36 conventions in the capital, whereas by 2013, 60 ICCA-recognized meetings took place here. This ICCA group is considered one of the most prominent organizations in the world of international meetings.

Thousands went to Expovivienda

Before it was over, the Housing Expo organized by the Panamanian Chamber of Construction (CAPAC) registered mortgage transactions totaling $100 million, according to Charles Allen, president of the guild. Allen said he had no doubt that when the final numbers are counted they will have exceeded $160 million. The fair ended on Sunday May 18, with an estimated 31,000 people in attendance. Participating in this expo were more than 180 exhibitors presenting some 400 projects with more than a dozen banks taking part.

Businesses favor local market

According to the latest business survey conducted by Regus, a global provider of flexible working places, more businesses are looking to grow in local markets rather than investing abroad. The research, which gathered the views of more than 20,000 executives and business owners in 95 countries, showed that 42% of employers are looking to developing internally, while only 17% want to grow in the international market.

Panama a step closer to the Pacific Alliance

Panama’s Cabinet sanctioned a bill approving the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the Republic of Panama and the United States of Mexico. The bill authorizes the Minister of Commerce and Industry, by resolution, to present the document to the National Assembly. With the completion of the approval process of this bilateral agreement, Panama is a step closer to becoming part of the Pacific Alliance (Chile, Mexico, Peru and Colombia, among others, all with observer status throughout the approval process). The aim of the Alliance is to promote trade, foreign investment and social development beneficial to these nations.

Building material expo in Panama

Colombian exporters chose Panama to host the fifth Proexport Fair, directed towards the business of building materials and finishes. The objective of the meeting is to market the different types of materials that Colombian companies offer to Central American distributors, wholesalers, builders and architects. Maria Claudia Lacouture, president of Proexport, said Panama was the site of choice due to its demonstrated growth in the construction sector, thanks to residence and hotel projects being built.

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