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Your International Business In Panama

Why Panama Is The Best Place In The World To Base Your Business

You make three decisions in life that matter. You choose what to do to support yourself. You choose who to come home to at night (or maybe you choose to come home to no one…fair enough). And you choose where to come home.

Lief and I made the first two decisions long ago, but we think about that last one all the time. For us, it’s a moving target. Right now, home is Panama.

Our choice for how to support ourselves is portable, so, in theory, we could be anywhere. Why, therefore, have we chosen, for the past five years, to base ourselves in Panama?

For us, the answer to that question is straightforward: Panama is the best place on earth right now to operate an international business, and, right now, our focus is business. We’re raising a family, too, but our current driving agenda is running and growing our business.

Why is Panama the best choice in the world to do this? The biggest reason has to do with taxation. Panama is one of but a handful of countries in the world where we are able to operate tax-free (others include Uruguay, Belize, and Malaysia). That’s a big deal.

However, note that I didn’t say Panama is the only place in the world where we (and others like us) can operate tax-free. From the short list of the world’s most tax-friendly jurisdictions, why, five years ago, did we choose Panama when we looked around the globe for where to base our new venture?

In addition to the tax advantages, Panama offers the would-be entrepreneur many others…including:

  • It’s in the same time zone as the United States (give or take an hour or two), meaning it’s easy for us to communicate with our customers (most of whom are in North America)…
  • It’s a travel hub (we move around a lot)…
  • Panama uses the U.S. dollar as its currency (so we have no exchange-rate risk…we earn our money in dollars and spend it in dollars, too)…
  • This is an international banking center (don’t get me started on the hassles and frustrations associated with banking in Panama…on the other hand, the reality is, you have many options for banking in Panama)…
  • The labor pool is big, growing, eclectic, well-educated, and English-speaking…
  • The labor pool, again, is growing, thanks to current President Martinelli’s Executive Decree of 2012 inviting citizens of “friendly nations” (there are 42 on the list) to come, live, and get a job…Martinelli’s ground-breaking (I’ve never heard of any other government doing anything like this before, ever) order makes it super easy for a foreigner from the identified countries to qualify for legal full-time residency and obtain a work permit in this country…another big deal…
  • The cost of doing business is affordable. Five years ago, when we set up shop here, the cost of doing business in Panama was downright cheap. This is no longer true. But it is true that Panama remains an appealingly affordable place to be in business in English. And, again, if your business is earning its revenues in dollars, this is a place where you can likewise spend those revenues to cover your costs, overheads, and salaries in dollars…
  • Panama City is a developed and legitimate city. This isn’t Miami (though it’s often compared to that U.S. city), but it does offer the resources that a business and the people running it need and want, from attorneys, accountants, and messenger services to restaurants, health clubs, and bars with regular happy hours…

We aren’t the only ones to notice all these advantages, of course. More than 40 major international companies (including Halliburton, Dell, Caterpillar, DHL, and Sinopec) have established headquarters in Panama.

And it’s not only big businesses that are noticing all that Panama has to offer. We’re not a big business. We started out, five years ago, from nothing. Here we are, five years later, with a solid team and a business that has grown and that continues to grow steadily, month to month.

The success we’ve enjoyed is thanks to many things, we know (including, of course, your loyalty and custom…thank you), but near the top of that list would have to be all the support and advantages that Panama has provided us.

If you’re an entrepreneur…or an entrepreneur-in-the-making…I strongly recommend that you take a look at all that Panama has to offer you, too.

Kathleen Peddicord

Continue Reading: Financing The Purchase Of Real Estate Overseas

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