Economy of Panama

The economy of Panama is a fully dollarized [8] economy with a history of low inflation. It is based mainly on the services industry, heavily weighted toward banking, commerce, and tourism.

Panama's economy is based primarily on a services sector that accounts for nearly 80% of its GDP. Services include the Panama Canal, banking, the Colón Free Trade Zone, insurance, container ports, and flagship registry, medical and health, and other business. The country's industry includes, manufacturing of aircraft spare parts, cements, drinks, adhesives, and textiles. Also some exports for Panama are bananas, shrimp, sugar, coffee, and clothing.

Economy of Panama
Panama City seafront
Panama City is the capital and financial center of Panama
CurrencyPanamanian balboa (PAB, B/.)
U.S. Dollar
Calendar year
Trade organizations
GDPDecrease$44.69 billion (2014 est. PPP)
GDP rank92nd (2012, PPP)
GDP growth
5.6% (2015), 5% (2016),
5.4% (2017e), 5.6% (2018f) [1]
GDP per capita
Increase$20,300 (2014 est.)
GDP by sector
agriculture: 3.8%; industry: 16.8%; services: 79.4% (2012 est.)
Increase5.4% (2012 est.)
Population below poverty line
26% (2012 est.)
52.4 (2008)
Labor force
1.563 million (2014 est.) note: shortage of skilled labor, but an oversupply of unskilled labor
Labor force by occupation
agriculture: 17%; industry: 18.6%; services: 64.4% (2009 est.)
UnemploymentIncrease4.5% (2014 est.)
Main industries
construction, brewing, cement and other construction materials, sugar milling
79th (2019)[2]
ExportsIncrease$18.07 billion (2014 est.)Note: includes the Colon Free Zone
Export goods
gold, bananas, shrimp, sugar, iron and steel waste, pineapples, watermelon
Main export partners
 United States 24.7%
 Canada 16.2%
 EU 15.1%
 Costa Rica 8.8%
 Netherlands 5.7%
 Hong Kong 5.2% (2014 est.)[3]
ImportsIncrease$25.65 billion (2014 est.)
Import goods
fuel products, medicines, vehicles, iron and steel rods, cellular phones
Main import partners
 United States 20.9%
 China 14.8%
 Mexico 13.6%
 Costa Rica 10.6%
 Venezuela 8.1%
 Colombia 5.8% (2014 est.)[4]
Increase$15.47 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Public finances
Decrease37.0% of GDP (2012 est.)
Revenues$9.219 billion (2012 est.)
Expenses$10.21 billion (2012 est.)
Standard & Poor's:[5]
BBB (Domestic)
BBB (Foreign)
AAA (T&C Assessment)
Outlook: Stable[6]
Outlook: Stable
Outlook: Positive
Foreign reserves
Increase$3.314 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Main data source: CIA World Fact Book
All values, unless otherwise stated, are in US dollars.
Macroeconomic indicators
GDP (PPP) 40.152 billion USD (2009)
GDP (Nominal) 25 billion USD (2008)[7]
GNP 38.08 billion USD (2008)
GDP growth 8.4% (2013)
GDP per capita 12,600 USD
GNI per capita 10,700 USD (2013)
HDI Increase0.840

Economic history

Since the early 16th century, Panama's geographic location has given the country a comparative advantage. Soon after the Spanish arrived, the conquistadors would transport gold and silver from Peru to Spain via the Panama isthmus. Ports on each coast and a trail between them handled much of Spain's colonial trade from which the inhabitants of the port cities prospered. The country has always been dependent on world commerce for its prosperity and imports. Agriculture received little attention until the 20th century, and by the 1980s had for most of the population barely developed beyond indigenous Indian techniques. Industry developed slowly because the flow of goods from Europe and later from North America created a disincentive for local production.[9]

Panama has been affected by the cyclical nature of international trade. The economy stagnated in the 18th century as colonial exchange via the isthmus declined. In the mid-19th century, Panama's economy boomed as a result of increased cargo and passengers associated with the California gold rush. A railroad across the isthmus, completed in 1855, prolonged economic growth for about fifteen years until completion of the first transcontinental railroad in the United States led to a decline of trans-isthmian traffic. France's efforts to construct a canal across the isthmus in the 1880s and efforts by the United States in the early 20th century stimulated the Panamanian economy.[9] In 1903 Panama separated from Colombia and the United States took control of the Panama Canal Zone; soon afterwards a constitutional ruling adopted the US dollar as legal tender for the country.[10]

The United States completed the canal in 1914[11], and canal traffic expanded by an average of 15% a year between 1915 and 1930. The stimulus was strongly felt in Panama City and Colón, the terminal cities of the canal. However, the world depression of the 1930s reduced international trade and canal traffic, causing extensive unemployment in the terminal cities and generating a flow of workers to subsistence farming. During World War II, canal traffic did not increase, but the economy boomed as the convoy system and the presence of United States forces, sent to defend the canal, increased foreign spending in the canal cities. The end of the war was followed by an economic depression and another movement of unemployed people into agriculture. The government initiated a modest public works program, instituted price supports for major crops, and increased protection for selected agricultural and industrial products.[9]

The postwar depression gave way to rapid economic expansion between 1950 and 1970, when GDP increased by an average of 6.4% a year, one of the highest sustained growth rates in the world. All sectors contributed to the growth. Agricultural output rose, boosted by greater fishing activities (especially shrimp), the development of high-value fruit and vegetable production, and the rapid growth of banana exports after disease-resistant trees were planted. Commerce evolved into a relatively sophisticated wholesale and retail system. Banking, tourism, and the export of services to the Canal Zone grew rapidly. Most importantly, an increase in world trade provided a major stimulus to use of the canal and to the economy.[9]

In the 1970s and 1980s, Panama's growth fluctuated with the vagaries of the world economy. After 1973, economic expansion slowed considerably as the result of a number of international and domestic factors. Real GDP growth averaged 3.5% a year between 1973 and 1979. In the early 1980s, the economy rebounded with GDP growth rates of 15.4% in 1980, 4.2% in 1981, and 5.6% in 1982. The acute recession in Latin America after 1982, however, wreaked havoc on Panama's economy. GDP growth in 1983 was a mere 0.4%; in 1984 it was -0.4%.[9]

This period coincided with the rise to power of General Manuel Noriega during which Panama became increasingly indebted, by 1986 owing SDR284m (US$360m) to the IMF alone, 278% of their quota.[12] This led to the IMF imposing an adjustment program supported by an IMF stand-by arrangement in 1985–87[12] whilst the economy recovered somewhat. In 1985 Panama experienced economic recovery with 4.1% GDP growth. The corresponding figure for 1986 was estimated to be 2.8%.[9]

The United States started to pursue Noriega for fostering a narco-state in Panama, culminating in sanctions that froze Panama's assets in the United States; since Panama used the US dollar it was forced to default on its IMF debt on 28 December 1987.[12] Economic turmoil in the country included a general strike and the banking system closing down for two months.[12] Panama made a token payment the day before the IMF meeting in November 1988, but the situation did not resolve until 1989.[12] Presidential elections in May 1989 were condemned by the international community as fraudulent and the IMF began to become impatient with Panama's increasing arrears which had now reached SDR121m (US$150m).[12]

The United States and Germany forced through a resolution on 30 June 1989 declaring Panama ineligible for further support from the IMF.[12] The situation was eventually resolved by the US invasion of Panama in December 1989 which forced the surrender of Noriega.[12] SDR181.5m (~$US230m) was still owed to the IMF in April 1990; the country regained access to IMF funds on 2 May 1992.[13]

Panama Export Treemap
A proportional representation of Panama's exports.

After taking office in 1994 President Ernesto Perez Balladares set forth an economic liberalization program designed to liberalize the trade regime, attract foreign investment, privatize state-owned enterprises, institute fiscal discipline and privatize its two ports in 1997 and approve the sale of the railroad in early assets. Panama joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) and a banking reform law was approved by the legislature in early 1998 and dismantled the Central bank. After two years of near stagnation the reforms began to take root; GDP grew by 3.6% in 1997 and grew by more than 6% in 1998. The most important sectors which drove growth were the Panama Canal and the shipping and port activities of the Colón Free Trade Zone which also rebounded from a slow year in 1996.

On September 1, 1999, Mireya Moscoso, the widow of former President Arnulfo Arias Madrid, took office. During her administration, Moscoso attempted to strengthen social programs, especially for child and youth development, protection, and general welfare. Moscoso's administration successfully handled the Panama Canal transfer and was effective in the administration of the Canal.

The PRD's Martin Torrijos won the presidency and a legislative majority in the National Assembly in 2004. Under Torrijos, Panama continued strong economic growth and initiated the Panama Canal expansion project that began in 2007 and was opened to commercial traffic on 26 June 2016, at a cost of US$5.25 billion - about 25% of current GDP.[14] The canal expansion doubled the waterway capacity, enabling it to accommodate Post-Panamax ships that were too large to transverse the transoceanic crossway,[14] and expected to help to reduce the high unemployment rate. Strong economic performance had reduced the national poverty level to 29% in 2008.

In 2008, Panama had the second most unequal income distribution in Latin America. The Torrijos government implemented tax reforms, as well as social security reforms, and backed regional trade agreements and development of tourism. Not a CAFTA signatory, Panama in December 2006 independently negotiated a free trade agreement with the US, which, when implemented, should help promote the country's economic growth.

In May 2009, Ricardo Martinelli elected president, and on July 1 promised to promote free trade, establish a Panama City metro system at an approximate cost of $1.0 billion,[15] reform the health care system, and complete the expansion plan for the Panama Canal. Martinelli also emphasized the importance of transforming Panama into a “safer, modern and supportive” nation devoted to improving the living conditions of its population through efficient and accountable governance.

Economic sectors

Financial services

Panama has a substantial financial services sector and no central bank to act as a lender of last resort to rescue banks that get in trouble. As a result, Panamanian banks are very conservatively run, with an average capital adequacy ratio of 15.6% in 2012, nearly double the legal minimum.[16] The sector grew up providing trade finance for trade passing through the Canal, and later evolved into money laundering for the drug trade under Noriega. Since the global financial crisis of 2007–08 the country has been trying to shake off its reputation as a tax haven, signing double taxation treaties with many (mostly OECD) countries and in April 2011 a treaty on the exchange of financial information with the United States.[16]


Panama econ 1981
An economic activity map of Panama, 1981.

Major agricultural products include bananas, cocoa beans, coffee, coconuts, timber, beef, chickens, shrimp, corn, potatoes, rice, soybeans, and sugar cane.[17] In 2009 agriculture and fisheries made up 7.4% of Panama's GDP[17]

Panama is a net food importer and the United States is its main supplier.[18] Agriculture employs a large number of Panamanians (in relation to agriculture's percentage of Panamanian GDP) with many farmers being engaged in subsistence farming.


Taxation in Panama, which is governed by the Fiscal Code, is on a territorial basis; this is to say, that taxes apply only to income or gains derived through business carried on in Panama itself.[19] The existence of a sales or administration office in Panama, or the re-invoicing of external transactions at a profit, does not of itself give rise to taxation if the underlying transactions take place outside Panama. Dividends paid out of such earnings are free of taxation.

In February 2005, Panama’s unicameral legislature approved a major fiscal reform package in order to raise revenues from new business taxes, and increases the country’s level of debt. The legislature voted 46 to 28 in favour of the measures, which include a new 1.4% tax on companies’ gross revenues, and a 1% levy on firms operating in the Colon Free Trade Zone – the largest free port in the Americas.

Further reforms

President Ricardo Martinelli had promised to implement a flat tax system with a flat tax of 10% and which promised to raise revenues, put inflation under control and which will allow enormous real wage gains. Instead the Martinelli government increased sales tax to 7% from 5%, as well as increasing other taxes, in order to finance many infrastructure projects around the country.


Panama City from airport
Panama City as seen from the Corredor Sur highway.

In Panama City there are six highways: the Panama-Arraijan Bridge of the Americas, Panama-Arraijan Centennial Bridge, Arraijan-Chorrera, Corredor Norte, Corredor Sur, and Autopista Alberto Motta.

Panama's roads, traffic and transportation systems are generally safe, with older traffic lights having undergone a recent overhaul and most have been replaced by traffic lights that are capable of being controlled [and changed] remotely, even at busy intersections where they are not needed. Driving during the midday is usually slow and demanding due to dense traffic, frequent traffic jams, and street renovation programs. On roads where poor lighting and driving conditions prevail, night driving is difficult and in many cases, restricted by local authorities, this usually occurs in informal settlements. Night driving is particularly hazardous in these areas.[20] Traffic in Panama moves on the right, and Panamanian law requires that drivers and passengers wear seat belts.[20]

Currently, Panama used to have an extensive and efficient, yet confusing to tourists, form of public transportation consisting of colorful painted buses colloquially known as diablo rojo. A diablo rojo is usually "customized" or painted with bright colors, usually depicting famous actors, politicians or singers. It is now popular all over the city (and also in neighboring towns) for bus drivers to personally customize the interior and exterior of their diablo rojo. Panama City's streets experience frequent traffic jams due to poor planning.

"Diablos Rojos" are not in Panama transportation since 2010. Metrobus and the Metro are the current transportation.


The following table shows the main economic indicators in 1980–2017.[21]

Year 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
GDP in $
7.32 Bln. 11.18 Bln. 12.61 Bln. 18.59 Bln. 26.47 Bln. 36.71 Bln. 41.07 Bln. 47.27 Bln. 52.36 Bln. 53.61 Bln. 57.38 Bln. 65.48 Bln. 72.85 Bln. 78.93 Bln. 85.20 Bln. 91.10 Bln. 98.87 Bln. 103.89 Bln.
GDP per capita in $
3,693 5,024 5,097 6,767 8,704 10,956 12,032 13,600 14,799 14,890 16,104 17,585 19,234 20,498 21,772 22,917 23,995 25,351
GDP growth
4.5 % 11.2 % 8.1 % 1.8 % 2.7 % 7.2 % 8.5 % 12.1 % 8.6 % 1.6 % 5.8 % 11.8 % 9.1 % 6.6 % 6.0 % 5.8 % 5.0 % 5.4 %
(in Percent)
13.8 % 1.0 % 0.8 % 0.9 % 1.4 % 2.9 % 2.5 % 4.2 % 3.8 % 2.4 % 3.5 % 5.9 % 5.7 % 4.0 % 2.6 % 0.1 % 0.7 % 0.9 %
Government debt
(Percentage of GDP)
... ... ... 81 % 56 % 62 % 8 % 48 % 41 % 40 % 39 % 38 % 34 % 34 % 36 % 37 % 37 % 38 %

Nominal GDP per capita in Panama was (in balboas or US dollars) 11,691 in 2002, 13,099 in 2004, 14,004 in 2005 (Prelim), 15,141.9 in 2006 (est), as reported by Office of Statistics and Census, Government of Panama.[22] Growth from 2002 to 2006 was especially strong in the transport and communications sector, which became the biggest component of GDP, although many sectors also saw strong growth. Real GDP rose 7.5% (03-04), 6.9% (04-05), 8.1% (05-06).[23]

GDP growth in 2008 was 9.2%, reflecting a slowing of the robust growth of 11.5% seen in 2007. Although growth slowed to 2.4% in the first half of 2009, due to the global economic downturn, it is expected to improve in 2010 and is still one of the most positive growth rates in the region. Growth has been fueled by the construction sector, transportation, port and Panama Canal-related activities, and tourism. As a result of this growth, government deficit as a percentage of GDP dropped to 43% in 2009, and government-issued debt achieved investment grade in February 2010.[24] A recent United Nations report highlighted progress in poverty reduction from 2001 to 2007—overall poverty fell from 37% to 29%, and extreme poverty fell from 19% to 12%. However, Panama still has the second-most unequal income distribution in Latin America.[25]

See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook website

  1. ^ "World Bank forecasts for Panama, June 2018 (p. 152)" (PDF). World Bank. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  2. ^ "Ease of Doing Business in Panama". Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  3. ^ "Export Partners of Panama". CIA World Factbook. 2013. Retrieved 2015-07-18.
  4. ^ "Import Partners of Panama". CIA World Factbook. 2013. Retrieved 2015-07-18.
  5. ^ "Sovereigns rating list". Standard & Poor's. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  6. ^ a b c Rogers, Simon; Sedghi, Ami (15 April 2011). "How Fitch, Moody's and S&P rate each country's credit rating". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ Berg, Andrew; Borensztein, Eduardo (2008-12-01). "Full Dollarization The Pros and Cons". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 2009-06-16.
  9. ^ a b c d e f  This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress document: Scott D. Tollefson (December 1987). Sandra W. Meditz & Dennis M. Hanratty (ed.). Panama: A country study. Federal Research Division. Growth and Structure of the Economy.
  10. ^ Savastano, Miguel (1996). "Dollarization in Latin America: Recent Evidence and Some Policy Issues". IMF Working Paper. WP/96/4. SSRN 882905.
  11. ^ "Building the Panama Canal, 1903–2030". Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h Boughton, James M. (1 October 2001). Silent Revolution - The International Monetary Fund 1979–1989 (PDF). IMF. pp. 799–803.
  13. ^ Boughton (2001), p763
  14. ^ a b The Associated Press (2016-06-26). "Panama Canal Opens $5B Locks, Bullish Despite Shipping Woes". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-01-19. Retrieved 2010-07-25.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ a b "Macroeconomic Report - Panama" (pdf). United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. June 2012.
  17. ^ a b  This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Department of State document "Background note: Panama".
  18. ^  This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Department of Agriculture document "Panama: Biotechnology: Biotechnology Report" by Hugo Salazar. Retrieved on August 7, 2007.
  19. ^ "Panama Taxes Explained", Panama Taxes Feb, 2012.
  20. ^ a b "Panama: Country-specific information" Archived 2013-12-04 at the Wayback Machine. U.S. Department of State (March 18, 2009). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  21. ^ "Report for Selected Countries and Subjects". Retrieved 2018-08-30.
  22. ^
  23. ^ Dirección de Estadística y Censo - Panamá
  24. ^
  25. ^

External links

Agriculture in Panama

Agriculture in Panama is an important sector of the Panamanian economy. Major agricultural products include bananas, cocoa beans, coffee, coconuts, timber, beef, chicken, shrimp, corn, potatoes, rice, soybeans, and sugar cane.In 2009 agriculture and fisheries made up 7.4% of Panama's GDP. Panama is a net food importer and the U.S. is its main supplier. Agriculture employs a large number of Panamanians (in relation to agriculture's percentage of Panamanian GDP) because many farmers are engaged in subsistence farming.

Ancón, Panama

Ancón is a corregimiento in Panamá District, Panamá Province, Panama with a population of 29,761 as of 2010. Its population as of 1990 was 11,518; its population as of 2000 was 11,169. It is sometimes considered a suburb or small town within Panama City, northeast of the limits of the town of Balboa. Ancon Hill is also the name of a large hill that overlooks Panama City and once served as a form of protection from pirates and sea invasion. The township was originally located around this hill, and was created to house employees of the Panama Canal during its construction. As part of the construction effort, the historic Gorgas Army Hospital was founded and built on the hillside. The first ship to officially transit the canal, SS Ancon, was named after the district. The community continued to serve as housing for employees of the Panama Canal Company until 1980, when parts of it began to be turned over to the Panamanian government under the 1977 Torrijos-Carter Treaties. Modern-day Ancón is a corregimiento (the Panamanian equivalent of a suburb in the United States) of Panama City, serving mainly as a residential area. The Gorgas Army Hospital building is now the Panamanian Oncology Hospital, primarily used for cancer research. The area also houses Panama's Supreme Court, just a few feet away from the Gorgas Army Hospital building, and several Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute buildings for research into tropical biology. Ancón is also a parish (parroquia) of the District of Panama, located in the Panama Canal adjacent area.

Banana production in Panama

Banana production in Panama has traditionally played an important role in the Panamanian economy since around the turn of the twentieth century.

Canada–Panama Free Trade Agreement

The Canada–Panama Free Trade Agreement is a free trade agreement between Canada and Panama that went into effect April 1, 2013. The agreement was concluded on August 11, 2009 by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli and signed by the two countries' trade ministers on May 14, 2010. The agreement was approved by both countries' parliaments by December 2012, allowing the agreement to come into effect. The agreement eliminates Panamanian tariffs on 90% of goods from Canada. The remaining 10% will be phased out within the next 10 years. Canada will remove 99% of its tariffs on goods from Panama. Canada will keep tariffs on some imports of sugar, poultry, eggs and dairy products. Panama will end its ban on beef from Canada which was initiated after cases of mad cow disease were found in Canada in 2003.

In 2008, bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and Panama totaled $149.1 million. Trade has increased by 48 percent from 2007. Canada made up $127.9 million of total trade between the two countries, while Panama made up the remaining $21.2 million.Both countries parliament needed to approve the agreement before it could come into force. The Canadian opposition parties had considered stalling the agreement over the issue of Panama being considered a tax haven.The agreement was negotiated over four meetings. The first negotiation started in October 2008. The negotiations followed two exploratory meeting over a possible agreement.In 1998, Panama and Canada signed the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA). This agreement placed rights and obligations on foreign direct investments between the two countries. In 2006, FDI in Panama by Canadian companies was $111 million.On May 14, 2010, Canada's International Trade Minister Peter Van Loan, along with Panama's Minister of Commerce and Industry, Roberto Henríquez, signed the Canada–Panama Free Trade Agreement (FTA), as well as parallel agreements on labour cooperation and the environment.

On June 11, 2012 a bill to implement the trade, environmental, and labour agreements was introduced in the Canadian parliament as Bill C-24.

Ciudad del Saber

Panama's Ciudad del Saber (Spanish for City of Knowledge) is a government-sponsored cluster of academic organizations, technology companies and non-governmental organizations, managed by the foundation of the same name. It is located just across the Miraflores locks, in what used to be United States Army South headquarters, Fort Clayton.

Coffee production in Panama

Coffee production in Panama was occurring in the Boquete Valley by the early 20th century, although coffee was growing wild all over the Pacific coast region of Panama by this time, when production did not match domestic consumption. The International Coffee Organization (ICO) has grouped mild arabica as the variety of coffee that is grown in Panama. The best quality of coffee in Panama is grown in Boquete. In the Coffee Review of 2008, two Panamanian coffees have received higher rating and fetched record prices than the coffee from Costa Rica.

Colón Free Trade Zone

The Colón Free Trade Zone is a large entity near the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal, located in Panama dedicated to re-exporting a wide variety of merchandise to Latin America and the Caribbean. It is a free port.

Index of Panama-related articles

The following is an alphabetical list of topics related to the Republic of Panamá.

List of provinces and indigenous regions of Panama by Human Development Index

This is a list of provinces (provincias) and indigenous regions (comarcas indígenas) of Panama by Human Development Index as of 2017. Indigenous regions are shown in the table in italics.

Note: the HDI values are calculated using pre-2014 borders, so the newly-established Panamá Oeste Province (which was split from Panamá Province) is not included in the data.

Mesoamerica Project

The Mesoamerica Integration and Development Project, or in Spanish Proyecto Mesoamérica (PM), is a mechanism by which 10 countries centered on Central America implement regional projects for development and integration. The 10 participating countries are Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama. The initiative was championed by the then-Mexican President, Vicente Fox. It is the successor to the Puebla-Panama Plan (PPP) first announced in 2001. The Mesoamerica Integration and Development Project was launched under that name in 2008.

National Bank of Panama

The National Bank of Panama (Spanish: Banco Nacional de Panamá) is one of two Panamanian government-owned banks. As of January 2009, it held deposits of about US$5 billion. The other government-owned bank is Caja de Ahorros, with about US$1 billion in total deposits.

National Institute of Statistics and Census of Panama

The National Statistics and Censuses Institute (Spanish: Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censo, INEC) is the Panamanian government agency responsible for the collection and processing of statistical data.

Outline of Panama

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Panama:

Panama – sovereign country located on the Isthmus of Panama in Central America. Some geographers categorize Panama as a transcontinental nation connecting the northern and southern portions of the Americas. Panama borders Costa Rica to the north-west, Colombia to the south-east, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the North Pacific Ocean to the south. It is an international business center and host to important ports, for the volume of traffic, in the Pacific and Caribbean side. Although Panama is the 3rd largest economy in Central America, after Guatemala and Costa Rica, it has the largest expenditure on resource consumption, making the country the largest consumer in Central America.

Panama Canal

The Panama Canal (Spanish: Canal de Panamá) is an artificial 82 km (51 mi) waterway in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean. The canal cuts across the Isthmus of Panama and is a conduit for maritime trade. Canal locks are at each end to lift ships up to Gatun Lake, an artificial lake created to reduce the amount of excavation work required for the canal, 26 m (85 ft) above sea level, and then lower the ships at the other end. The original locks are 34 m (110 ft) wide. A third, wider lane of locks was constructed between September 2007 and May 2016. The expanded canal began commercial operation on June 26, 2016. The new locks allow transit of larger, post-Panamax ships, capable of handling more cargo.France began work on the canal in 1881, but stopped due to engineering problems and a high worker mortality rate. The United States took over the project in 1904 and opened the canal on August 15, 1914. One of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken, the Panama Canal shortcut greatly reduced the time for ships to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, enabling them to avoid the lengthy, hazardous Cape Horn route around the southernmost tip of South America via the Drake Passage or Strait of Magellan.

Colombia, France, and later the United States controlled the territory surrounding the canal during construction. The US continued to control the canal and surrounding Panama Canal Zone until the 1977 Torrijos–Carter Treaties provided for handover to Panama. After a period of joint American–Panamanian control, in 1999, the canal was taken over by the Panamanian government. It is now managed and operated by the government-owned Panama Canal Authority.

Annual traffic has risen from about 1,000 ships in 1914, when the canal opened, to 14,702 vessels in 2008, for a total of 333.7 million Panama Canal/Universal Measurement System (PC/UMS) tons. By 2012, more than 815,000 vessels had passed through the canal. It takes 11.38 hours to pass through the Panama Canal. The American Society of Civil Engineers has ranked the Panama Canal one of the seven wonders of the modern world.

Panama as a tax haven

The Republic of Panama is one of the oldest and best-known tax havens in the Caribbean, as well as one of the most established in the region. Panama has had a reputation for tax avoidance since the early 20th century, and Panama has been cited repeatedly in recent years as a jurisdiction which does not cooperate with international tax transparency initiatives.

Panama's offshore sector is intimately tied to the Panama canal, which has made it a gateway and entrepôt for international trade. There are strong similarities between Panama and other leading tax havens like Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai. On paper at least, Panama has the largest shipping fleet in the world, greater than those of the US and China combined, according to the Tax Justice Network.

Panamanian balboa

The balboa (sign: B/.; ISO 4217: PAB) is, along with the United States dollar, one of the official currencies of Panama. It is named in honor of the Spanish explorer/conquistador Vasco Núñez de Balboa. The balboa is subdivided into 100 centésimos.

Panama–United States Trade Promotion Agreement

The Panama–United States Trade Promotion Agreement (Spanish: Tratado de Libre Comercio entre Panamá y Estados Unidos or TLC) is a bilateral free trade agreement between Panama and the United States that has been in effect since October 2012. Stated objectives include eliminating obstacles to trade, consolidating access to goods and services and favoring private investment in and between both nations. Apart from commercial issues, it incorporates economic, institutional, intellectual-property, labor and environmental policies, among others.

The negotiations were officially completed on December 19, 2006, though elements were still to be renegotiated. The agreement was signed on 28 June 2007, and Panama's National Assembly ratified it the following 11 July, before the 1200-page document had been translated into Spanish.

Real estate in Panama

Real estate in Panama is about how the Republic of Panama's real estate industry has grown since 2006, as foreign investments helped to fuel Panama's economy and housing market.

In spite of the economic and housing market growth, poverty is a problem in Panama. Most indigenous people live in extreme poverty while others located in rural areas live in basic poverty. Lack of sanitation, electricity, basic water, health, and education amongst the poor is a serious problem affecting Panama’s housing conditions.

In an attempt to encourage foreign investments for real estate projects and infrastructure, the government of Panama enacted laws protecting foreigners and citizens who make investments.

Corruption permeates the real estate market including claims of drug profits and money laundering financing real estate projects.

Similar to the U.S. and Canada, Panama uses a system of publicly recorded titled deeds as proof of real estate ownership. A unique Rights of Possession system exists allowing individuals to occupy unused government lands in order to make improvements to them.

Tourism in Panama

Tourism represents one of the main activities of Panama. The main areas of tourism in the country focus on business tourism, beaches, and trade.

Most of the tourists come from United States, Canada, Europe, Central America, and South America.

Annual tourism generates profits of approximately 1,400 million USD.

This figure has increased rapidly since the million tourist arrived in 2004. 2011 saw the arrival of 2 million tourists.Panama was in 2013 visited by about 1,527,228 tourists at the airport of Tocumen. In Panama a tourist, on average, spends 365-385 USD per day, the highest per capita tourist spending in Central America, while the average tourist in Panama stays for between 6 and 7 days.

In 2011, Panama was visited by more than 2 million tourists, an increase of 18% compared to 2010. The New York Times Magazine placed Panama as the best place to visit in 2012 as the country's economy is working well, with Panama having regained the control of the Canal 12 years ago. For the daily the hallmark of the country is the inter-oceanic way and its extension, which must end in 2014, with an investment of billions of dollars.

This also include the construction of the Waldorf Astoria Panama, the first Waldorf Astoria hotel in Latin America, which opened in March 2013; Trump Ocean Club, which opened in 2010, and BioMuseo, a center of natural history that is expected to open in early 2013, the old part of the city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, and the archipelago of Bocas del Toro, which is used by backpackers.

Economy of the Americas
Sovereign states

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