Sunday, January 24, 2010

Free Panama map online

The local tourism authority has a digital map online called the ATP GPS map developed by Geoinfo (BVP: GEOI). This company has has been trading its shares since 1994 and has years of experience in gathering the data required for customized Panama maps in different technological formats.

Like all Panama government sites, it has a lot of Flashturbation. Apparently, government big guys are easily impressed by webdesigners but it seems that the issue of bandwidth is never brought up before shelling out taxpayer balboas. The map requires access from a desktop and cannot be used with a PDA Wifi when stopping by a Panama City Hotzone.

Once we deal with that small issue, we went to the menu (the English icon at the right just sends you back to the Spanish menu). The 4 menu items stand for :
Map: Street Map > Satellite Map > Combine Map > Map Index > Stored Views > Description > Print
Navigation: Zoom In > Zoom Out > Main View > Move Map
Tools: Search > Street Search > Route Generator > Neighboring places > Images > Identifier > Bathroom
Help: Help > Home > About

We looked up "Calle 47" (Herramientas > Busqueda de Calles) and got 5 hits. The search is nationwide so we got streets with the same name in Belo Horizonte close to Tocumen Airport, Brisas del Golf (47A Street), Bella Vista (47 East) and Chorrera (47 North and 47 South).

The results came as a surprise because for 40 years everybody who lives in Bella Vista has considered 47 Street East to be a street 3 blocks South of landmark 50 Street, running from HSBC Panama and Ocean Plaza Building to Federico Boyd avenue. So thought the restaurant owners whose businesses are listed in Google when "Calle 47" Panama is searched . According to Geoinfo, 47 Street runs from Via Espana in front of La Cresta to the Miramar Intercontinental Hotel.

Apparently, it gives directions also (Herramientas > Generador de Rutas) but after clicking on the "Crear Rutas" icon, we were asked to "click 'Obtner Direcciones' arriba" on a tab which we never found. The map is called "GPS" but we could not enter directions with GPS coordinates.

The map may not be very good giving directions to the newcomer but we cannot underestimate the task involved in making a very complete inventory of the streets in Panama City suburbs and towns from as large to David and as small as El Real de Santa Maria. This comes handy when going off the beaten path into the Interior - just make sure that all maps that may possibly be needed are printed BEFORE the trip because hi-speed access is hard to come by in the Interior.

Most locations of interest to the tourist (hotels, restaurants, ATMs) appear already on the map as icons. The location shown is more accurate than Google Maps which tends to show items one mile off to the Northeast.

My rating: 4 out of 5

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

March 3-5: EXPOCOMER helps start your Panama business network

The Panama trade fair EXPOCOMER has a free online B2B database of visitors and exhibitors attending the exhibit in March to meet on a one-to-one basis. This is an event attended by thousands of buyers from throughout the Americas and exhbibitors from as far away as Malaysia and both Chinas.

Keep in mind that international hotels may have no vacancies during those days so early reservations are a must. However, independent hotels and relocation companies can help you get lodging in Panama City during those days.

EXPOCOMER - organized by the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Panama - is the largest, annual horizontal, international exhibition in Panama.

The event is to be held as below:
Date: 3rd – 5th March, 2010 (1.00 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.) B2B only
6th March (11.00 a.m to 8.30 p.m.) General & trade

Venue:Atlapa Convention centre, City of Panama

Panama has a strategic geographic location, has a modern international banking centre also and the largest duty free zone in the western hemisphere. The last edition of fair had 481 exhibitors from 28 countries attracting 16,213 visitors where 9000 business match making were done.


This is a multi-sector trade exhibition. The main categories are:
· Textile: cotton, linen & silk fabrics, home & fashion textiles, table cloths, decorative textiles, decorative embroideries, handbags, leather products, jewellery, perfumes & cosmetics
· Food: Packed food, beverages, liquor, tobacco
· Construction: construction, equipment, material, hardware, manufacturing machinery, raw material
· Technology: computer & communication technology, transportation equipment, automobiles, medical, pharmaceutical, laboratory equipment & products.
· Services: all type of service providers related to textile, food, construction & technology


Visitor categories would include:

· Importers, wholesalers & re-exporters
· Supermarket chains & retailers
· Business Houses
· Industry Professional
· Trade Associations
· Service providers

EXPOCOMER is the ideal place for company to exhibit products and services to local and regional markets, introduce new products to the market, evaluate the competition and use the Colon Free Trade Zone as a bridge to re-export products to the Caribbean, Central America and South America.

FREE online registration as Buyer

Online registration as Exhibitor

Download Free Expocomer Information Package

India Participation in Expocomer,548,550
In case you are interested, you are requested to send us your interest by sending us the enclosed form along with a Demand Draft of Rs 85,000/- in favour of Federation of Indian Export Organisations payable at New Delhi. The participation charges are non refundable once the participation is approved. For any clarification, you may contact MRD Division at 011-46042114 & 46042136-38, 46042222 or email at;

Israel returns to Expocomer

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Anthony Bourdain's Guide to Panama

Featured in the show Sambu, Fish Market, ChinaTown, Multiplaza, Isla Grande, Noriega's home, Chorrillo, Darien Gap. Highly recommended to see the good, bad and ugly of real Panama beyond the touristy banking area while learning about yummy food....

Tony travels to Panama, which is rumored to have originated from an Amerindian word meaning "an abundance of fish." One of Tony's stops includes the Mercado de Mariscos, a swank new fish market to sample the national go-to dish: ceviche.
More behind-the-scene clips at Panama

Google Map meant to point to the eateries featured in the show (each point is off like 1 mile Northeast)





Sunday, January 03, 2010

BNP Paribas Latin downsizing may provide private banking opportunity

BNP Paribas (Paris: BNP .PA) has sold their local Panama business to Scotiabank (TSX:BNS) Panama. At the time of local press report, BNP had yet to find a buyer for the private banking and trust business served from Panama for the benefit of Latin American offshore beneficiaries. The small size of a Panama branch makes this market currently unattractive to multinational mega-banks.

Based on the experience from past closures of Panama branches of European banks, this could be an opportunity for private bankers seeking to acquire a portfolio of Latin American clients.

The Panama media originally reported that the closure was based on the blacklisting of the Panama banking system by the G-20 as described by French bank officials. However, the closure of the Argentina branch which has not been blacklisted and the drop in BNP Paribas makes the explanation by French bank executives unlikely.

If the G-20 black list forced BNP Paribas to sell its Panama branch, why did BNP also sell their Argentine branch after doing business for 95 years?

BNP Paribas vendió negocios locales


El banco canadiense Scotiabank concretó la compra de las operaciones de banca corporativa del BNP Paribas, pero aún no hay acuerdo para los negocios de banca privada y de fideicomisos.

El gerente general de BNP Paribas en Panamá, Christian Giraudon, dijo que está "en contacto con varios bancos locales y extranjeros para la cartera de banca privada y fideicomiso, proceso que sigue abierto y todavía tomará un par de semanas".

En una operación paralela, el panameño Credicorp Bank logró cerrar ayer la compra del edificio que albergaba­ antes de mudarse a Punta Pacífica­ las operaciones de BNP Paribas en la Vía España.

Banking crisis wipes 56% off BNP Paribas profits

BNP Paribas sells its retail banking business in Argentina to Banco Santander Río
This network consists of 17 branches in the City and Province of Buenos Aires and offers services to more than 30,000 private customers and 900 corporations.
"BNP Paribas has been present in Argentina since 1914 and remains committed to its corporate clients in the country. The bank will focus exclusively on providing its extensive platform of products and services to corporate clients and institutional investors," BNP Paribas reported.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Best wishes for 2010 from Panama

We wish you the best for the new year of 2010,

Regards from Panama,

Jorge Lombardi Dutari Alvaro Aguilar Alfú Gabriel Aguilar Pitty

Private Client Services, Incorporation and Management of Companies, Trusts and Foundations, Immigration, Real Estate, Tax, E-Commerce and Intellectual Property Law.
Mobile: +507 6638-8707 Fax: +507 340-6446 Tel: +507 340-6444 / 6449 Y!Messenger/Skype aguilara_5389 / Facebook Abogados Panama
Airmail address: P.O.Box 0831-1110, Panama 0831, Panama
Courier address: Aquilino de la Guardia St. Ocean Business Plaza, 12th Floor, Panama City, Panama
For more information go to: