Panama Opens Doors to Economic Growth
Bobbin , July, 1999 by Jordan Kalman
Panama -- which in its native Indian language means "abundance of butterflies" -- historically has brought to mind the country's famous hats, bananas and world renown canal. Today, however, many businesspeople have left behind this vision and replaced it with one of an $8.9-billion economy gearing up for serious growth across its manufacturing, financial, service and tourism sectors, to name just a few. Panama is encouraging the U.S. sewn products industry to play a role in this growth.
According to J. Enrique Tellez, senior commercial specialist for the U.S. Embassy in Panama, the country is on track "to establish a basis for sustained economic growth." With a newly established constitutional democracy in place, the country has achieved monetary stability based on the U.S. dollar, put in place trade liberalization and structural reforms and is working to create conditions attractive to foreign investment, he noted at a recent conference titled "Doing Business in Central America & the Caribbean Basin."
Along with a gathering of business executives, Bobbin was on hand at the Charlotte, NC, event, at which Tellez stressed the many opportunities for U.S. apparel and textile manufacturers to take advantage of Panama's growth and development. For example, the United States already is by far Panama's main trading partner, with imports from the United States (not including the Colon Free Trade Zone) totaling $1.7 billion in 1998, or 46 percent of Panama's total imports of $3.1 billion. Panama's exports to the United States last year (with the exception of Colon) were $377 million out of total exports of $679 million, $11.1 million of which were textiles and apparel bound for the U.S. market.Full text in http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3638/is_11_40/ai_59495614