A bill which has already been approved in second debate provides for production incentives, which vary depending on whether the companies are engaged solely in the local market, the international market or both.
From a statement issued by the National Assembly of Panama:
Price controls will be extended for six months, and authorities are contemplating including in the list of regulated goods coffee, pasteurized milk, sugar, and oil.
The Price Adjustment Committee has recommended that the 22 products under price regulation be maintained, and that 4 more be included. This is intended to force lowering of prices for the products involved, a measure that has been prolonged for the second time this year.
Legal certainty, delays in the approval procedures and government debts are some of the concerns employers passed on to the Varela administration.
From a statement issued by the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (CCIAP):
Issues related to national and corporate events, which include economic growth and legal certainty, were some of the points raised during the meeting between entrepreneurs of the Board of the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama headed by its President José Luis Ford, and the president of the Republic of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela Rodríguez.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry is inviting coffee producers to participate in an exhibition of specialty coffees, to be held from April 9 to 12 in Seattle.
Nine Panamanian producers have already confirmed their attendance at one of the most important trade fairs in the US coffee industry: the Speciality Coffee Association of America 2015 (SCAA). The Arabian and Geisha coffee varieties will be promoted by the businesses Hiu Coffe, Don Pachi Estate, Carmen Estate Coffee, Casa Ruiz, Café Kotowa, Hacienda Esmeralda, Café Volcán Barú and Beneficios de Café de Boquete.
Petaquilla Gold has been granted 180 days to catch up with outstanding payments of royalties, fees to the Social Security Department and other payments.
From a statement issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Panama (ICIM):
The Ministry of Trade and Industry announced today, to representatives of Petaquilla Gold, the decision to administratively resolve the granting of the Molejón mining project, recognizing an initial term of 180 calendar days, during which the company can rectify its faults in contractual obligations.
The tariff problems with Colombia and the debt held by Venezuela explain part of the 12% drop in trade in the CFZ, which went from $27,400 million in 2013 to $24,000 million in 2014.
In the past two years trade in the Colon Free Zone (CFZ) fell by $6.7 million and an improvement is not foreseen in 2015 as there is no sight yet, at least in the short term, of a solution to the tariff of 5 % added by Colombia to textiles and footwear coming from the Colon Free Zone.
The government has announced that it will not ratify the trade agreement until the conflict caused by the tariff of 5% added to textiles and footwear coming from the Colon Free Zone is resolved.
Meliton Arrocha, Minister of Commerce and Industry of Panama, announced that the measure has already been communicated to the Colombian government, to whom there was was a call made for dialogue under international trade rules in order to resolve the existing trade disputes.
The government has announced that price controls on 22 basic products in the basket will be maintained throughout the first half of 2015.
From a statement issued by the Minister of Commerce and Industry of Panama (ICIM):
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Meliton Arrocha announced that as a result of assessments made on the results of Executive Decree No. 165, it has been decided to extend the application of the measure for six months starting from January 2015.
The special tax regime for multinationals which have an established site in Panama remains the main factor, while the low supply of trained personnel has been identified as a serious problem.
In addition to tax incentives offered to companies that set up offices, there are also special areas such as Panama Pacific and the Colon Free Zone, whose special schemes offer other incentives for companies to set up there. Despite the sharp increase in the arrival of foreign investment, the high demand for qualified personnel represents a major challenge.
The Government is considering to include in the list of products which have price controls, new ones which have had "unjustified increases" in prices.
Price regulation could be extended to more than the 22 products in the basket, because some foods have seen increases that have not been properly justified according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Some of these products are cooked ham, fruit drinks, lettuce, and mayonnaise, among others.
The municipality of Colon has decided to suspend the collection of $100 tax for each truck distributing chicken, which had started on October 7th.
A similar decision was taken in the district of La Chorrera, where "... the mayor said (to producers) that during his administration he will not establish taxes on farmers, producers and agro-exporters".
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