Panama Business, Taxation and Offshore Information
An Independent Country with a Canal
The Republic of Panama lies between Colombia and Costa Rica and has a population of 4.1 million and a land area of 76,000 sq. km. Panama is a sovereign democracy with a presidential style of government. The current president, Juan Carlos Varela, is a former businessman. The climate is tropical.
Panama was part of Colombia until 1903, when, with backing from the United States, it declared its independence. The USA gained the rights to start working on a canal. Work began in 1903 and was completed in 1914. In 1999, the canal and all its US facilities and bases reverted to Panama, lending a major economic benefit to the country.
The official language is Spanish, but English is often used in business circles. Panama's official unit of currency is the balboa (PAB), which is pegged at parity to the dollar. However, there is no Panamanian paper currency and even coins are a mixture of US cents and Panamanian centesimos. Hence the US dollar is the de facto official currency for all but minor transactions. More »