Thursday, September 23, 2010

The IMF has predicted a 6% increase in economic growth for 2011 for Panama, summary by Juliette Passer

SUMMARY
by Juliette Passer
(Based on article from EL FINANCIERO Annex, LA PRENSA newspaper dated September 14, 2010 by Mario A. Muñoz)

When the Assemblymen talk about approving a record budget for 2011, it is crucial to find out where the financing is going to come from.

Panama’s 2011 budget will be 13 billion dollars as compared to other Latin American countries: Costa Rica’s is 11 billion, El Salvador is 3.7 billion and Paraguay is 8.284 billion.

According to the comments by economist GUSTAVO CHELLEW relying on the data from the Ministry of Economy and Finance - government revenue has increased by 4.8% in 2010, so real income increased by $337.7 million over same period in 2009. This is an increase of 15.8% up to July 2010. According to the foregoing, public finances have been consolidated and are, therefore, sound. This is the basis for sustainable economic and social development. This situation will allow the Government to maintain public policies seeking fairness in distribution of income. For example, there was a decrease in the income tax (Law 8 of 2010) that benefitted 90,000 employees earning less than $50,000 per year.

All the foregoing is based on expected income for 2011 and on a budget execution of 90% with a real economic growth of about 5% in the Gross National Product for 2011 similar to that of 2010. The banking system has recommended generating finances. Besides, personal consumption has increased by 6.8% which reflects the dynamics of economic growth for 2011.

The IMF has predicted a 6% increase in economic growth for 2011.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

CLIMA DE INVERSIONES DE PANAMA

CLIMA DE INVERSIONES DE PANAMA
Por Juliette Passer


PANAMA ofrece un clima único para inversionistas extranjeros. Los factores más importantes para tener en cuenta son:

• El dólar de U.S.A. es de libre circulación

• No hay control de tasas de cambio

• La Constitución da igual trato a ciudadanos locales y extranjeros

• Tiene una de las Leyes Corporativas más flexibles del mundo. Basada en el Código de Delaware, al igual que la disponibilidad de otras formas de entidades legales, incluyendo a Compañías de Riesgo Limitado

• No hay restricciones a inversiones 100% extranjeras

• No hay restricciones a fusiones, adquisiciones, o inversiones conjuntas

• Alto porcentaje de fuerza laboral capacitada y bilingüe

• Incentivos favorables para inversión y finanzas

• Excelentes puertos, aeropuertos y telecomunicaciones

• Facilidades excelentes de hoteles y suites para ejecutivos

• Ambiente bancario excelente y estable, con más de 65 bancos

• Internacionales y locales, sucursales y oficinas representativas

• Una de las Zonas Libres más grandes (en Colon)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Investment Climate of Panama by Juliette Passer

Panamá Investment Climate
By Juliette Passer

Panama offers unique business climate for foreign investors. Major factors to be considered are:

The U.S. Dollar is legal tender

Total absence of exchange controls

Equal treatment of foreign and local citizens under the Constitution

One of the most flexible Corporations laws in the world, based on the Delaware Code as well as availability of other forms of legal entities, including Limited Liability Companies

No restrictions on 100% foreign owned investments

No restrictions on mergers, acquisitions, or joint ventures

High percentage of skilled and bilingual labor force

Favorable investment and financial incentives

Excellent ports, airport and telecommunications

Excellent Hotels and business executive suite facilities

Excellent and stable banking environment, with over 65 international and local banks, branches, and representative offices

One of the largest Free Trade Zones in Colon

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Law 30 in Spanish

For our Spanish-speaking readers – Panama Law 30 by Juliette Passer in Spanish:


Trust experience and knowledge™.

“Confíe en la Experiencia y el Conocimiento”


Ley 30 de Panamá del 12 de junio de 2010
por Juliette Passer

Una mezcla de reglamentos, la nueva Ley 30, también conocida como la Ley “9 en 1”, fue aprobada por la Asamblea Nacional de Panamá el sábado 12 de junio y firmada como Ley por el Presidente Ricardo Martinelli.

De un plumazo, la Ley modifica los Códigos Laborales, Judiciales, y Criminales, al igual que otras seis Leyes. Estas reformas controversiales fueron metidas en un proyecto de Ley presentado para aumentar la inversión en aviación comercial que inmediatamente causaron malestar público en todo Panamá, mientras aumenta la controversia acerca de la aprobación de la Ley 30.

Esta controversia - según Juliette Passer - se enfoca principalmente en dos medidas que han molestado a dos distintos grupos de intereses panameños: los ambientalistas, que nunca han tenida mucha influencia en la política panameña, y los Sindicatos obreros que si han tenido mucha influencia en ese sentido. Los ambientalistas están preocupados por las disposiciones que permiten que los proyectos de construcción continúen avanzando sin el debido estudio de impacto ambiental cuando el Gobierno considere que existe un “interés social” en construir el proyecto.

Los Sindicatos obreros opinan que la nueva Ley interfiere en su territorio y protestaron en las calles. La fuerza tradicional de los Sindicatos en Panamá se basaba en la protección que les concedía el Código de Trabajo y el bloque de votos que podían obtener en unas elecciones. Sin embargo, su fuerza política comienza a debilitarse. La Ley 30 contiene disposiciones que permiten a obreros que pertenecen a sectores sindicalizados, tales como la construcción, a decidir si quieren o no pagar sus cuotas sindicales; antes de la nueva Ley, las cuotas sindicales eran descontadas del sueldo automáticamente.

El Articulo 12 de la Ley 30 dice:

“El Artículo 373 del Código del Trabajo dice lo siguiente: Artículo 373 – El patrono no está obligado a deducirle al empleado cuotas ordinarias ni extraordinarias que esten establecidas a favor de un sindicato. El obrero que desea pagar las cuotas ordinarias o extraordinarias establecidas por un sindicato, deberá pagarlas voluntariamente.”

La Nueva Ley también permite al Gobierno adoptar medidas más fuertes contra las huelgas y a usar a obreros no sindicalizados. Esta batalla se libró en los Estados Unidos y el Reino Unido en los años 1980s; ahora se está comenzando a librar en Panamá.

La base de la Ley contiene elementos relacionados a la aviación comercial, y especialmente una codificación de un requerimiento para forzar a compañías panameñas de aviación, tales como COPA, a emplear a un 85% de panameños, incluyendo pilotos. También contiene nuevos requerimientos y restricciones acerca de mecánicos y técnicos de aviación – la mayoría extranjeros.

La lista de otras reformas incluye permitir a patronos a emplear a obreros no sindicalizados para reemplazar los que están en huelga y ordena a la policía a tomar control de los sitios afectados por las huelgas. La Ley “9 en 1” también aumenta la pena para el tráfico humano y falsificación de documentos, pero rebaja las penas a oficiales de la policía que cometen crímenes durante su trabajo. Juliette Passer termina diciendo que es una Ley rara, parecida a las que vemos en Washington cuando Leyes importantes contienen un sin número de disposiciones no relacionadas.

© 2010, Juliette M. Passer, Esq.



Acerca de la autora:

Juliette M. Passer es una abogada estadounidense con más de 19 anos de amplia experiencia internacional transaccional en finanzas corporativa y de proyectos, al igual que en nuevos medios y comercio. Juliette Passer tiene un título (cum laude) del Cardozo School of Law y estudió Ley Soviética en la Columbia University School of Law. Ella ejerció la abogacía con la firma internacional de abogados Debevoise & Plimpton andPatterson, Belknap, Webb y Tyler en Nueva York especializándose finanza corporativa y de proyectos. Juliette Passer pertenece al Concejo de Relaciones Exteriores y es parte de las juntas directivas de varias compañías. Ella aparece en el Who’s Who in American Women. Ella, pro bono, representa a artistas, bailarinas y músicos Rusos y Ucranios, Juliette Passer frecuentemente es invitada como oradora a la Facultad de la Academia Jurídica Rusa, Universidad de Kaplan, Moravian College, y otros.


“Le damos paz mental”

We provide peace of mind!™

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Juliette Passer wrote an article on Panama Law 30

Trust experience and knowledge™.

Panama Law 30 of June 12, 2010

by Juliette Passer

A mixed collection of regulations, the new Law 30, also known as the "9 in 1" law, was passed by the Panama National Assembly on Saturday, June 12, 2010 and signed into law by President Ricardo Martinelli. In one broad sweep, it amends the Labor, Judicial and Criminal Codes as well as six other laws. These controversial reforms were bundled in a bill to increase investment in commercial aviation and immediately stirred public unrest across Panama, while controversy surrounding the passing of Law 30 continues to grow.

This controversy - Juliette Passer explains - is focused mainly on two measures that have upset two different Panamanian interest groups: environmentalists, who have never been very influential in Panamanian politics, and Labor Unions, who have been quite influential. The environmentalists are upset about provisions that allow construction projects to move forward without an environmental impact study, if the government determines that there is a “social interest” in pursuing a project.
The Labor Unions see the new Law as infringing on their territory and took their dislikes to the streets. The traditional strengths of Labor Unions in Panama were the protections they enjoyed in the Labor Code and the bloc votes they could cast in elections; however, their political force is beginning to weaken. Law 30 contains provisions which allow workers in unionized sectors, such as construction, to decide whether or not they want to pay union dues; before the new Law, dues were automatically taken out of workers’ wages.

Article 12 of Law 30 reads:
“Article 373 of the Labor Code will read as follows: Article 373 - The employer is not obligated to deduct from workers in favor of a union ordinary or extraordinary union dues that are established. The worker who wishes to pay the ordinary and extraordinary dues established by the union should pay those dues voluntarily."
The new Law also allows the government to take stronger action against strikers and to use non-union workers. This is a battle that was fought in the 1980s in the US and UK; it’s just beginning to be fought in Panama.

The bulk of the underlying law has contains elements related to commercial aviation, and most of which is a codification of a requirement to force Panamanian aviation companies, such as COPA, to hire 85% Panamanians, including pilots. There are also new requirements and restrictions on aircraft mechanics and technicians - mostly foreigners.

The string of other reforms includes allowing employers to hire non-union replacements for striking workers and requires police to immediately take control of work sites affected by strikes. The "9-in-1" law also increased penalties for human trafficking and falsification of documents, but relaxed sanctions for police officers who commit crimes while on duty. It is an odd piece of legislation, although not unlike some we see in Washington, DC when major laws contain a myriad of unrelated provisions, Juliette Passer concludes.


Copyright 2010, Juliette M. Passer, Esq.



About the Author

Juliette M. Passer is a U.S. attorney, with over 19 years of broad international transactional experience, specializing in corporate and project finance, as well as new media transactions and e-commerce. Juliette Passer holds a JD (cum laude) from Cardozo School of Law and studied Soviet Law at the Columbia University School of Law. She practiced law with the international law firms of Debevoise & Plimpton and Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler in New York, specializing in corporate and project finance. Juliette Passer is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on boards of several companies. She is listed in Who’s Who in American Law and Who’s Who in American Women. As a pro bono undertaking, she represents Russian and Ukrainian artists, dancers and musicians. Juliette Passer is a frequent guest lecturer and an adjunct graduate faculty at the Russian Juridical Academy, Kaplan University, Moravian College and others.



We provide peace of mind!™