7 things to know about Panama

Known worldwide for the Panama hat (jipijapa) and its Channel, Panama is the “bridge between two worlds” connecting North and South America. Its GDP has grown more than 6% per year on average, during the period 2010-2019.

If you are thinking about doing business in Panama, find out this 7 facts that will help you in the process:


1. The first failed attempt to build the canal was undertook by France (1881-1903), led by the diplomat Mr. Ferdinand de Lesseps. The project was taken under control of United States in 1904. The Channel was officially opened in 1914.


2. Services are the basis of the national economy, with finance and trade being the main sectors. One of the pillars of the Panamanian economy, the “Colon Free Trade Zone” is becoming more and more important in terms of manufacturing and distribution. Panama is the second largest free trade zone in the world, behind Hong Kong.


3. A country without a Central Bank. The official currency is the Balboa, but actually the country uses the dollar in day-to-day transactions. The Balboa pegged to US dollar, means that a Central Bank institution is not necessary, and therefore a traditional Central Bank does not exist.


4. The population is 4.2 million inhabitants, and more than a half of them live in the metropolitan area of ​​the capital, Panama City. GDP per capita was $15,731 in 2019.


5. Exports reached $5.85 billion in 2019. Countries within its geographical area, like Colombia and Costa Rica, exported $39.49 billion and $11.45 billion respectively. Imports main origins are China (20%) and the United States (19%).


6. Services exports reached $13.93 billion in 2019, with a services trade surplus of $8.8 billion. The main services exported are:

  • 51% Transport
  • 33% Travel
  • 8% Financial services
  • 4% Other business services
  • 2% Telecommunications, computer and information services


7. Panama attracted $5.89 billion FDI in 2019. During the period 2015-2019, the countries that contributed the most in the economy of Panama, were the United States, Colombia and Canada.


Need more information about Panama, please contact me xavireverter@exportwings.com


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Photo by David Barajas on Unsplash

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