Isthmian Update September 8

Lower property taxes

The main residence of a person or family will be exempt from paying property tax for the first $120,000 of the value of the property. Bill 509, approved recently in first debate by the Economy and Finance Committee of the National Assembly. The bill underwent several modifications in relation to the original proposal presented by the Executive.

The 40th Anniversary of the Torrijos-Carter Treaties

Understanding our history makes us reflect on what has happened over the years and be able to analyze and question acts that were of great importance for Panama. To mark the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Torrijos-Carter Treaties, which reach that date on September 7, the Panama Canal, with the collaboration of the International Maritime University and the Panama University, organized an event called: “A historical look projected into the future”.

One more time

Two years before the 2019 electoral process, former president Ernesto Pérez Balladares, a member of the Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD) does not rule out the possibility of running for the Presidency of the Republic again. Perez Balladares, who in recent months has held meetings with members of his party’s base, convened a meeting at a local hotel with a group from his past government team (1990-1994). The PRD leader spoke for more than two hours with his former collaborators and friends.

Japanese connection

The Vice President and Chancellor, Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado, met with the top representatives of the Japanese companies established in Panama, as well as other companies interested in establishing themselves here, in order to explain the new investment opportunities and competitive advantages in Panama.

Bad intentions

The Minister of Commerce and Industry, Augusto Arosemena, stepped forward and assured that the liberal professions like lawyers, architects, engineers and doctors among others as established by Resolution No. 19-17, issued on August 31, would not open the doors to foreigners, but that these professions will be maintained for Panamanians as stated in the Constitution. The standard, which establishes the Commission on Licensing of headquarters of multinational companies, according to the minister, seeks to update the requirements of the profile that companies must have to enter the country. “There is a misinterpretation and, in my opinion, it is a political attack being made that is unrelated to the content of the resolution,” he said.

Shopping madness

From September 15 to 17, 10,000 visitors are expected to arrive in Panama to take advantage of the discounts many shops and restaurants are offering on the “the Black Weekend”, a conservative figure when compared to the expectations maintained by the organizers. Nadyi Duque, president of the Association of Shopping Centers (APACECOM) who said that, based on the experience of the past “Black Friday”, the products that are most sold are electronic equipment followed by technology and sportswear.

Delaying tactics

The legal defense team of former president, Ricardo Martinelli, petitioned the US court for a stay of the final order issued by a Miami judge stating that the request for extradition filed by Panama is pending. The motion is signed by attorney Marcos Jiménez and addressed to the court of the District of South Florida, requesting that the certification of Martinelli’s extradition be suspended and the defense be granted a period of 30 days to prepare a writ of habeas corpus.

Lower homicide numbers

Although the population of Panama has increased, the number of homicides in the eight months to 2017 is the second lowest in the past 25 years. This is reflected in a report prepared by the Department of Statistics of the Integrated System of Criminal Statistics (SIEC) which lists the murders that occurred between 1991 and August 2017. These SIEC statistics reveal that during the government’s administration of Guillermo Endara Galimany, president of the post-invasion era, fewer homicides were reported.

Tax audits for Multinationals

Since last year and continuing in the current fiscal period 2017, the Department of Revenue has continued to implement a tax audit plan for companies registered under the Multinational Enterprises Headquarters (SEM) regime, which provides particularly large benefits to both the entity as well as employees who are covered by this special regime in Panama.

Zero discrimination dinner

The Ismael Cala Foundation (FIC) and Lorena Castillo, First Lady of Panama, will hold the “Leadership and Zero Discrimination” dinner as an initiative to raise funds for people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. The dinner will be held on September 13, at 6:00 p.m., at the Miramar Intercontinental Hotel in Panama City and the proceeds will be destined to Hogar El Buen Samaritano.

Good grade for the Canal

The ratings agency Fitch Ratings reaffirmed for the second consecutive year the Grade A Investment Grade rating, with a stable outlook, for long-term debt of the Panama Canal bonds. In its report, the rating agency points out that “it is the reflection that the Canal is a key asset not only for Panama, but also for international trade, as demonstrated by the stable performance of its tonnage and its competitive position, factors which have shown that the Canal is resilient to the downturns of the economy”.

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