Price Controls Start in Panama

A decree establishing the maximum retail price and the maximum margin for sales of 22 basic food products has been made ​​official.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Amid criticism from the private sector and consumer advocacy organizations, President Varela signed the decree by which the prices of 22 basic food items are controlled, including topside steak, sirloin steak, milk, bread and eggs.
The decree states that the control is temporary and will take effect on July 7.

Read the full list of items set out in the decree.

Private sector representatives expressed their opposition to the measure. In an article in, businessman Roberto Lombana, said "... 'price control is not a healthy measure ... Hopefully it will not be necessary to extend the period over that established, because nobody likes to be told what profits they should be making'."

More on this topic

Panama: No More Price Control?

July 2019

The brand-new Cortizo administration announced that it will gradually eliminate the price control system for 22 products of the basic basket, in force since July 2014.

The measure, which was initially announced as temporary, became permanent in the country, as it came into force on July 7, 2014, and during the Varela administration it was extended nine times, leaving negative balances to the discretion of some sectors.

The Never Ending Price Controls in Panama

January 2018

For the seventh time since 2014 the Varela administration has extended the measure that regulates the maximum retail prices of 22 products in the basic basket, up until July 2018.

From a statement issued by the Presidency of Panama:

The Price Control measure continues to offer great economic benefits to Panamanians.  If not implemented in 2014, by instruction of President Juan Carlos Varela, the basic food basket would cost B/. 394.15 balboas, that is to say, B/. 80.04 more than what is currently paid for the 22 controlled products.

Panama and the (eternal?) Price Controls

January 2017

For the fifth time the Varela administration has extended the measure regulating the maximum prices of retail of 22 products in the basic basket, until July this year.

From a statement issued by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry:

"No paper stops the Laws of the Market"

October 2014

The private sector in Nicaragua is opposed to the bill which intends to regulate the prices of 8 of the 53 products in the basic food basket.

The bill introduced in the Assembly intends to implement measures similar to those applied in Panama since July by the Varela administration, which have distorted the production and marketing of the products it covers, according to entrepreneurs from that country.