Saturday, June 28, 2008

Panama Online Gambling Regulation

After being shut out of the U.S. market last year with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), companies such as UK's Partygaming (PRTY.L) and Austria's Bwin (BWIN.BE) continue operating legally, even getting funds from investors in the London Stock Exchange and looking forward to customers in emerging markets of China and India. Representatives Barney Frank and Ron Paul introduced H.R.5767 which would stop its implementation but approval will not discourage others doing business outside of the U.S.

The Inter-American Trade Report, October 2003, has a short summary of the regulation for online games in Panama.

PANAMA: Online Gambling Regulation

Panama regulated online gambling operations this past February via Resolution 065 of the Games Control Board (Junta de Control de Juegos). Although under the Constitution gambling is a state monopoly, local jurisprudence has upheld the power of the State to grant concessions to operate said activities on its behalf to private companies. Online casinos would be exempt from Panama income taxes, since Panama taxes only local-source income and the Regulation allows online transactions only with users from outside of Panama.

Online gambling operations must prove economic solvency and previous related experience, and upon granting of the license must pay a US$10,000 fee and a yearly US$20,000 license.

Operators must comply with money-laundering regulations and notify the Financial Analysis Unit of any suspicious transactions above US$10,000. An account must be maintained to guarantee payment to winners. Infringements are subject to a fine ranging from US$1,000 to US$50,000.

By Alvaro Aguilar
Gaceta Oficial, Feb. 3, 2003

Keywords: online gaming, casino, gambling

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Getting a Job in Panama as a Foreigner

This is a frequent question I get. If you google getting a job in Panama, you will read that for foreigners without a work permit finding a job has to do with personal contact as much as (or more than) having a US degree.

Panama is a great place to be an entrepreneur if your clients are located worldwide - not as good place to be an employee of a Panama company. If you think about being a "salaryman" in Panama, the call center at Dell always needs young insomniacs at US$600/month.

Most companies feel that US or European workers will come with expectations of a stateside salary which will create jealousies from local staff which performs the same work. Branches of US multinationals are usually manned by an expat send from headquarters who does not want another English-speaking stateside young mind to steal away his thunder. Many Panama companies are privately-held and prefer to hire an incompetent relative over a smart finance wiz from Wharton. UN, STRI, embassies and other international organizations or NGOs usually tailor their hiring ads in order to favor a friend they want to hire ("International Relations graduate with 13.5 years of experience with a government organization and 3.25 years working in a European country").
Foreign professionals will find that Panama-owned companies are unwilling to go through the work permit hassle unless they feel they really need somebody (MBA in finance, bilingual accounting and occasionally marketing) or are really needed because of a short supply (all Civil Engineering and Port-related degrees - and now even Geology experts). By law, companies cannot hire more than 10% of their staff as foreigners so they think twice about their hiring.

Needless to say, fluency in Spanish is helpful, a work permit is crucial. Thinking about moving to Panama with a family and then finding a job - as some have suggested by email - is not prudent. Things to do which are not guaranteed to get a foreigner a job but certainly do not hurt:

- Send resumes in SPANISH and English to Panama alumni. Your college's alumni office should have their addresses. Pay a Spanish translator to proofread the Spanish version. Most Panamanian alumni may have aced their written exams in the US but are more comfortable with a resume in Spanish.

- List your resume with Panama headhunters registered in and Panama websites like Specify that you are willing to pay all expenses of your relocation, work permit and visa.

- Read the 2 leading business weeklies in Panama: and Not only do they give you most of the hard realities on Panama business, the new, progressive companies and they also have job surveys every so often.

- If you can afford it, enroll in a good Panama MBA program . Locals who are currently working with Panama companies attend there. Even better, enroll with Thunderbird or another school popular with Latin execs to start a networking process BEFORE relocating.

Back when Latpro was just a free conference list and before they started charging for their website services, its founder Eric Shannon circulated a very revealing email about how HR people at multinationals think, when going abroad:

Subject: Managing Your International Career Forum Synopsis
Date: Thu,16 Oct 1997 08:31:49-0400
From: Eric Shannon
To: “Latco list(E-mail)”

This email contains a synopsis of “Managing Your International Career” a forum held September 22, 1997 by the Global Business Association of New York City.

Best Regards,

Eric Shannon
Latin America’s Professional Network (LATPRO)
For more information about LATPRO, send a blank email to or visit our web site:

KF = Korn Ferry
CX = CONEX / Intersearch
WMB = West Merchant Bank


Both KF and CX are “agressively seeking” Spanish speaking candidates. In the last six months CX finds Information Technology to be the hottest market. KF agrees but says recruitment for these positions is a “local issue”. KF says Mexico is a “hot market”, Venezuela is coming back nicely, Brazil office is expanding rapidly while Argentina is flat. The major drivers are multinationals and some large indigenous family conglomerates.

WMB emphasizes that they are mostly sending infrastructure people to Latin America – technology and intranet specialists.

All the panellist agreed that they prefer to hire foreign nationals (locals) over US citizens for foreign assignments. They emphasized several times that the corporation will always choose the fastest, most efficient, cheapest alternative. A foreign national with a “western education” is always their first choice.

WMB- Doesn’t like to hire US citizens in foreign countries because in this situation they are paid as locals and find themselves sitting next to another American from headquarters who makes more money.
Goldman Sachs VP disagreed, has no problems making these hires.

The panellists report that Americans with foreign MBA’s are not at a disadvantage with their US educated counterparts and they also view the executive MBA no differently than the full time MBA.

When they do send US citizens on foreign assignments they look for mentor / teacher types who can more easily train locals to replace themselves


CX remarks that a good way to get an international assignment is to attend an international MBA program such as Thunderbird’s, MIBS, or pepperdidine’s. Recruiters tend to gravitate to their alumni networks particularly the more organized ones. WMB agrees; “strong alumni networks play a key role in our recruiting”.

KF says the best way to get overseas is to go to work for a company with revenues of 10 billion or more in a domestic assignment and lobby persistently for an expatriate assignment. WMB agrees and mentions that they generally don’t send anyone overseas who doesn’t have several years experience with the company.

KF- Be careful picking your international assignment as the general manager of operations in a small country, you may be forgotten- “Vince Who???” Have an exit strategy or end up in a job you had ten years ago when you get back. Try to negotiate your next job when they promote you. Even if you do this, the person you negotiated your career path with may have been axed when you get back!


AM- I like it, sometimes companies are looking for that types of person. My boss however would say he doesn’t like it. Companies look heavily at the chronology of your resume.

KF- This is a very serious issue with a man – if his career is substantive or if he has been job seeking, it isn’t so bad. Unemployment or consulting gaps are OK but travelling is a serious question mark for me.

WMB – If you haven’t been laid off in financial services you lack experience.


AM – If the person has the skills the client is looking for and there is chemistry between the candidate and the client and the company is flexible – no problem. The search is always steered by what the client says.

KF – this person should look into opportunities with the consulting companies.

Monday, June 09, 2008

U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement - New York Farmers Will Benefit

You are here: Home / Publications / FAS Fact Sheets / U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement / New York
U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement - New York Farmers Will Benefit

November 2007

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The U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement eliminates tariffs and other barriers on most U.S. goods, increasing export opportunities for agricultural products important to New York. With immediate elimination of duties on over 60 percent of current U.S. trade, this agreement changes the one-way street of duty-free access currently enjoyed by most Panamanian exports into a two-way street benefiting both countries. The American Farm Bureau strongly supports the agreement, predicting widespread gains for U.S. agriculture exceeding $190 million per year.

New York's exports to all countries, estimated at $671 million in 2006, supported about 7,900 jobs, on and off the farm. These export sales make an important contribution to the New York farm economy which had total cash receipts of $3.5 billion in 2006.

Dairy. The dairy industry accounted for 46 percent of the state's farm cash receipts with earnings of $1.6 billion in 2006. New York is the nation's third largest exporter of dairy products. Dairy farmers will benefit from the Panama agreement.
  • U.S. exporters will have immediate duty-free access to nine preferential dairy tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) with a combined total of 3,986 tons. These include 2,625 tons of skim milk powder, 728 tons of cheese, 263 tons of ice cream, and 370 tons of other dairy products. These quantities will grow by 4 or 5 percent each year and the over-quota tariffs for these TRQs, which range from 15 percent for ice cream to 50 percent for milk powders, will be phased out in 15 to 17 years.
  • U.S. dairy exporters will continue to have access to the global TRQs for 3,830 tons of milk powder and 3,782 tons of cheese that are part of Panama's World Trade Organization commitments.
  • Panama will eliminate its 30-percent tariff on dried whey products immediately. The tariffs on most other dairy products, which currently face duties as high as 140 percent, will be phased out over 15 years.
  • In addition, Panama has already implemented our December 2006 bilateral agreement on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures and technical standards by recognizing the equivalence of the U.S. food safety systems for processed foods, including dairy products, and by streamlining its product registration system for packaged foods. This will allow U.S. food processors to export dairy products to Panama without burdensome paper work and without having each facility and shipment inspected by Panamanian authorities.
  • The National Milk Producers Association supports the Agreement, noting that "Panama imports nearly half its dairy products, and the U.S. stands to become a larger supplier once the FTA is finalized."

  • Fruits. The fresh and processed fruit industry is important to the state. Apple growers along earn $204 million a year. New York's apple producers will benefit from this agreement.
  • Panama will eliminate its tariffs on nearly all fresh and processed fruits immediately.
  • Following are examples of fruit products of importance for New York that will be duty-free immediately (the currently applied tariff is indicated in parentheses): apples (2 percent), concentrated apple juice (Free), and concentrated grape juice (15 percent).
  • Panama will phase out its 15-percent tariffs on single-strength apple and grape juices in 12 and 15 years, respectively.

  • Beef. New York's cattle and calf industry is the state's fourth largest source of farm cash receipts with sales of $157 million in 2006. The industry will benefit from the Panama FTA.
  • Panama will immediately eliminate its 30-percent duty on beef products of most importance to the U.S. beef industry--prime and choice cuts. Panama's tariffs on other cuts of beef will be phased out over 15 years.
  • The 10-percent tariff on beef tongues and livers will be eliminated in 5 years, and the 15-percent tariffs on other edible offal will be eliminated immediately.
  • Panama has already implemented our December 2006 bilateral agreement on SPS measures, reopening its market to U.S. beef by bringing its import requirements related to BSE into compliance with international standards.
  • Panama also accepted the equivalence of the U.S. meat inspection system, which allows U.S. inspectors to certify beef for export to Panama without having each facility and shipment inspected by Panamanian authorities.

  • Vegetables. New York exported an estimated $67 million in fresh and processed vegetables in 2006. Potato and other vegetable growers will benefit from this agreement.
  • Panama will eliminate its tariffs on nearly all frozen and processed vegetables immediately. The tariff faced by U.S. exporters for these products currently is 15 percent.
  • The tariffs for most fresh vegetables will be eliminated in 10-15 years.
  • Panama will provide immediate duty-free access within a preferential TRQ for frozen precooked French fries that starts at 3,640 tons and grows each year by 4 percent. The 20-percent over-quota tariff will be eliminated in 5 years.
  • Panama will eliminate its 15-percent tariff on potato chips immediately and the tariffs on potato flakes (15 percent) and other potato preparations (as high as 54 percent) will be phased out in 5 to 10 years. Panama will also establish a 765-ton duty-free preferential TRQ for fresh potatoes that will grow each year by 2 percent.
  • Panama will eliminate its 15 percent tariffs on frozen and canned sweet corn immediately.

  • Wines. As a leading U.S. producer and exporter of wines, New York wine producers will benefit from this agreement.
  • Panama's tariff on still wine is 15 percent. Under the agreement, the tariff on bottled table wine will be eliminated immediately while tariffs on all other wine categories will be phased out within 5 years.

  • Back to the
    U.S.–Panama Trade Promotion Agreement

    More information in: Text of the Agreement and more links State Export Data Benefits to Agriculture by State

    Keywords: Free Trade Agreement, PAFTA, Trade Promotion Agreement