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Local business incentives - Legal forms of companies - Registration and licensing procedures - Legal framework - Foreign exchange control - Regulations concerning equity investment - FDI inflows - Expertise of the political risk

Local business incentives

To obtain further information on the different aids and incentives concerning foreign investments, investors should contact the IPCE (Panamanian Institute of Foreign trade) depending on both the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of foreign affairs. Furthermore, procedures will differ depending on the place of setting-up. Indeed, the nature of the aid will be different whether the companies set up in free trade zones or not.


Legal forms of companies

Form Number of partners/shareholders Minimum and/or maximum capital Liability Registration fee Release of financial documents
Sociedad Anonima is a joint stock company 2 minimum. There is no requirement regarding the place of residence and nationality of the directors. No minimum capital. Liability is limited to the amount contributed. They are based on the amount of the capital.
-USD 50 on the first USD100,000 .
-0.075 % from USD 10,000 to USD 100,000 for the next contributions.
-0.05 % from USD100,000 to USD1 million ;
-0.01 % above USD1 million.

Registration and licensing procedures
Investors must to contact the Registro Público de la República de Panamá (Public Registrar of the Republic of Panama) in order to register their company.

Foreign exchange control

Regulations concerning equity investment
A majority holding interest in the capital of a company in Panama is legal. However, foreign investors have to obtain a work permit from the Ministry of Employment.  

Foreign Direct Investment inflows in Panama

FDI inflows 2003 2004 2005 World rank (*)
FDI inflows (USD million) 771 1012 677 28/141
Source : UNCTAD - World Investment Report
Note : (*) World Rank = UNCTAD Inward FDI Performance Index. It is a measure of the extend to which a host country receives inward FDI relative to its economic size. It is calculated as a ratio of the country's share in global FDI inflows to its share in global GDP.


Last modified in 2006 - ongoing update
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