US companies are reducing staff
PANAMA. American companies operating in Panama are beginning to dismiss local employees as a way to be able to survive the current econ...
PANAMA. American companies operating in Panama are beginning to dismiss local employees as a way to be able to survive the current economic crisis, said the American Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Panama (AMCHAM) executive director, David Hunt.
The companies are taking that decision because the work is not there anymore as the financial situation in the United States worsens, said Hunt.
“However, it is possible that in eight months time the economy in the United States will improve and those companies will take those workers back,” he said.
Hunt added, that although American companies in general are having problems, they are still looking for new places in which to invest money and Panama is high on their list.
Over the last few months the AMCHAM has received more visits and enquiries than normal from U.S.companies wanting to establish themselves here, but they have not yet made decisions.
These companies are looking for new markets and areas inn which to work, outside the United States and Europe. They do not want have all their assets and employees in one place
Unlike other Latin American countries, Panama has a series of fiscal incentives that are very appealing to them. They are also allowed to bring their own employees from abroad, until local ones are trained.
Companies such as Hewlett Packard and Caterpillar attracted by Panama’s stability have opened call centers here.
According to Hunt, there is going to be an increment of American companies establishing themselves in Panama, although not immediately, because he thinks that the country has more to offer that other places in the region.
Talking about the Panamanian economy, Hunt said that it too is suffering and although this year it will continue to grow at the lower rate of between 2 to 3 percent, it is remarkable considering that other countries in the region are not experiencing any growth at all.
The executive director said that Panama is beginning to feel the effects of the economic crisis but six months later, because the country is a bit out of since with the rest of the world.
With regards of Panama being classified as a tax haven, Hunt said it was the wrong assumption to make and it is ludicrous, because here it is much more difficult to open a bank account that in other parts of the world, especially in the United States, which has less controls and requisites than Panama in respect to banking transactions, where the authorities ask for all types of documents.
“The fact of the matter is, that money laundering exists not only in Panama, but around the world too. The big difference is that here the authorities are trying to control it,” said Hunt.