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All about franchising in Panama, in one handy place


The stars and quarters are said to stand for the rival political parties, and the white for the peace in which they operate. Blue was the color of the Conservatives, and red the color of the Liberals. The first design was not accepted by the leader at the time who instead had his family design the version above.

Location: Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean

Neighbors: Colombia and Costa Rica

Nationality: Panamanians

Language: Spanish (however, the government is promoting programs that teach English through training programs in other countries)

Capital: Panama City

Literacy rate: 95%

Population: 3.6 million

Median age: 28.6 years

Obesity rate: 26.5%

Government: Constitutional democracy

Religion: Traditionally Roman Catholic

Time difference: East Coast time zone

Ambassador: John D. Feeley

U.S. Commercial Service office: John Coronado, senior commercial officer: John.Coronado@trade.gov or 011-507-317-5388
Enrique Tellez, senior commercial specialist: Enrique.Tellez@trade.gov or 011-507-317-5080

American Chamber of Commerce: Called PANAMCHAM; www.panamcham.com/en

Ease of doing business: Ranked 52 out of 189 economies

GDP: $76.77 billion

Internet code: .pa

Country phone code: +507

Dates: Written day, month, year

Passport requirement: One blank page, and must be valid for three months after trip

Visa: Not required

Internet usage: 52% penetration in 2014, latest figures available

Labor force: Shortage of skilled labor; but abundance of unskilled labor

Wealth distribution: Unequal, but it is still the wealthiest nation in Latin America (due in part to the Panama Canal)

Criminal activity: Despite government’s efforts, laundering of drug money still goes on here

Weather: Beware of the heat and humidity

Punctuality: Be on time for business meetings, but arrive a half-an-hour late if you are the only guest at a dinner party and one hour late if it’s a big party.

Bargaining: Adjust your prices to allow for negotiations

Titles: Titles are important. Address people with academic or medical degrees by their title and no last name, such as Professor

Dress code: Suits, however, you may be taking off your suit jacket in the heat. Dresses  or suits for women.

Sources: CIA World Factbook, Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands, Internet, Wikipedia, U.S. Commercial Service website, IFA website, World Bank, U.K. Trade & Investment site

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