MICI promotes projects of great impact for the economy and job creation in Panama
The Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MICI) presented its management report highlighting the effort to attract greater foreign investment, promoting growth of 15% for two consecutive years and an increase of 9.2% in the first quarter of 2018, with strategies such as promotion of Panama through Panama Invest and the strengthening of the Investment Attraction Agency (Proinvex).
The Minister of Commerce and Industries, Néstor González, highlighted that projects of great impact have been carried out for the country’s economy and the generation of jobs such as the Colón Puerto Libre system, the Industrial Development Law, the Panama Exporta brand, the Centro Global Excellence and the trade agreement negotiations with the People’s Republic of China.
He stated that all these projects have been effective thanks to joint work with the private sector that has led us to participate together in the drafting of laws to modernize our commercial and industrial sector, and events of great magnitude that allow us to publicize the advantages that Panama offers as the Great Connection for investments and the installation of multinationals.
Regarding foreign investment, he highlighted that the MICI launched the Global Center of Excellence to attract multinational companies to establish their value-added and distribution operations from Panama to the region. In 2016 we broke a record with 25 new multinational companies based in Panama and in 2017 with 20 new companies, today we have a total of 147 companies that add up to an investment of 1,000 million dollars and more than 6,000 jobs.
With the aim of making the SEM law more competitive, after 10 years of validity, we work together with the sector to update this legislation, achieving its approval in the National Assembly and the sanction of the President of the Republic, Juan Carlos Varela.
González pointed out that we work hand in hand with exporters in strengthening the capacities of our exporters and business rounds, as well as in the country brand Panama Exporta in alliance with MIDA, managing to reverse the downward trend of previous years. 2017 closed with a growth of our exports of goods of 3.8% and in the third quarter (January-September) of 2018 with a total of 530.5 million dollars, that is, an increase of 4.8%.
In alliance with MIDA and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we opened the Agrocomercial Offices in Rotterdam and Shanghai. We participated in the first International Import Fair with China with 23 Panamanian exporters who closed sales projections for 30 million.
We modified the Colon Free Port Law to exempt the ITBMS on purchases made by nationals and eliminate the collection of Selective Consumption Tax (luxury items such as jewelry and technology). 18,000 national buyers and 2,500 foreign buyers have already registered, who have made purchases for an approximate amount of 5 million dollars, and 36 companies have registered.
Together with the private sector, we approved the Industrial Development Law and its regulations, applying 40% incentives for investments in human resources, innovation, environmentally friendly practices and technology, and for the first time the Industry Registry was created. National.
We have concluded four rounds of negotiations of the trade agreement with China, managing to agree on the legal framework and closing the chapters on intellectual property, trade defense, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and advancing in market access, cooperation and financial services. We maintain permanent consultation with the private sector and we are committed to reaching an agreement that strengthens the relationship between both countries to consolidate our logistics hub and enhance our exports, always looking out for our best interests.
Our work with the users of the Colon Free Zone to modernize this free zone, seek new markets and enhance its logistics vocation has resulted in its recovery. The accumulated commercial activity of January-October 2018 registered $ 17,885,649 million, reflecting an increase of 9.4%.
Panama achieved the inclusion of the Ritual and festive expressions of the Congo culture in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO, which is added to that of the techniques of the pintao hat. In recent days we signed an agreement with two of the Guna regions to initiate the candidacy of the mola.
We continue to support Panamanian cinema with the celebration of the Fondo Cine contest and the sponsorship of relevant events such as the IFF.