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Panama Pacific Special Economic Area: Former U.S. Military Base Becomes Economic Boom Town

Article Summary:

Former military bases used by U.S. soldiers in Panama have found new life as headquarters for over 120 multinational companies. Known as the Panama Pacific Special Economic Area, the revamped military base is booming with business. The reason? Tax incentives, proximity to Panama City, major seaports, and the Canal.

Photo Credit: La Estrella

Original Article Text From La Estrella via Google Translate :

Howard, Military Enclave Economic Development Center

Howard there are so many things you can not imagine: from disarmament, full review and overhaul of aircraft-making to the tagua buttons with laser beams. And everything goes to foreign markets with the inscription ‘Made in Panama.

“Every day, which was the former Howard Air Force Base, located west of the city, takes on greater prominence in the business world. With a name change to Panama Pacific Special Economic Area (AEEPP), the complex logistics, commercial and residential grow with every passing day.

Some 129 multinational companies have registered to operate in the area and have already planted 70 other flag here.

The reason?
Tax incentives, proximity to Panama City, major seaports and the Canal. (See chart) Known as the crown jewel among U.S. military sites returned to Panama, Howard was used as a center of operation of the Southern Command humanitarian aid to other nations in the region.

Like the Channel, the former air base reverted to Panama in 1999, full compliance with the Torrijos-Carter. In the former military base is low.

The now Panama Pacific Special Economic Area is developed, since mid-2006, by London & Regional Panama. The British capital company has until 2046 to implement the comprehensive plan of the area.

The AEEPP comprises 1,400 hectares, of which 850 will be developed under the concept of industrial area, commercial and residential area another 550 hectares will be green. Investment that make London & Regional Panama is 705 million dollars over the 40 year life of the project.

This, so far, have run $ 235 million. John B. McKay, Communications Officer London, said that according to the master plan, the company must invest $ 405 million by 2015. This amount is distributed both in structures and in local labor. And is that the area has been instrumental in generating jobs, and now have created 5 000 jobs and the numbers promise to rise.

The first
To arrive after the reversion to Panama, companies began to arrive. One was Dell Panama, which was installed in 2003 as a call center for the United States, but seven years later expanded the service to markets from Canada to Argentina, making Panama the hub of operations for the Americas.

This center world-class business provides an excellent location, infrastructure and legal benefits, which has strengthened and expanded operations in the country to continue to support customers in America, said Martin Alvarez, general manager of Dell Panama. Singapore Technologies Aerospace (STA ) Panama, which provides repair and overhaul of aircraft, and a modern training center, is another of the pioneers in Howard.

Viji Navaretnam, director of maintenance of STA Panama, explained that since his arrival seven years ago have worked together with the Technological University of Panama to train graduates in aircraft maintenance, specializing in engines fuselage. But not only world-class companies like Dell and STA have been installed in the successful business area, since local as Truckslogic Consulting, Inc. also operates on the site.

Pedro Ruiz, general manager of Truckslogic said they are one of the first local companies who believed in the Panama Pacifico project, moving its offices in March 2011. ‘From here we study the possibility of opening our first regional ‘, with the idea of attending markets such as Colombia, Costa Rica and Guatemala, he said.

Companies such as Covidien, Global Cold Chain System Corp. and Osala settled in Panama Pacific because it is responsible for distribution of products for health care. Paola Escudero, manager of Import and Export of Covidien, said to have moved its operations from the Colon Free Zone to Panama Pacific is noticeable and positive difference.

Detailed that can give quick answers to their customers and provide products that comply with labeling and Spanish translations for drugs that target the Social Security Fund (Panama), Venezuela and Ecuador. Get a container for transporting a vital organ that meets the required temperatures by hospitals, is about 20 minutes from the capital city, for Global Cold Chain System Corp. and Osala, SA manufacturers, operating from the area.

At its headquarters produce equipment or transfer kits for insulin, vaccines and other inputs hospital type requiring special temperature, because, depending on the product, may be kept from 96 to 120 hours without decomposition, said its operations manager, Anayansi Aguirre.

But the boom surrounding the Special Economic Area Panama Pacific did not emerge from the overnight, because its foundations are due to a partnership between London & Regional Panama and the Panama Pacific State Agency. This was created by Act 41 of 2004. Both are distributed the weight of the project, the private party develops the area and the state is responsible for managing, promoting and carrying out the formalities for the establishment of companies.

Preciado Olmedo Alfaro, general manager Panama Pacific Agency believes that the country has a modern processing plant to allow the establishment of originating products to” Made in Panama.” said Alfaro serving an average of nine company registrations per month, which positions this business model, and by 2014 ‘we could have around 200 world-class companies that generate more than 7 thousand jobs’, he said.

Settling in Panama Pacifico allows greater ease in fiscal processes, labor, customs and migration. Companies can, through a single window, the procedures required to start operations in approximately 15 days. With the exception of some activities that are totally tax free, companies are subject to income taxes: income, dividend complementary and remittances abroad, for internal and external operations, are free of other direct and indirect taxes, except municipal taxes.

In Panama Pacific are not all infrastructures for warehouses, since the area of International Business Park there are two buildings office where they operate several companies, while accelerating the development of residences, apartments and luxury condominiums and commercial buildings. The residential area is located in the Town Center. At present, there are earthworks will be built River Valley, homes for middle class families, and in June will start the project lower middle class families Woodland, although it is set to Native, whose concept is that of single-family and duplex . In 2015 begin with the construction of urbanization Koobe Hill and Hill Ridge.

Taking advantage of the structure of the former air base, reactivated the project developers, since 2005, airport operations, which is used for charter flights. Rosa Munoz, director of the Panama Pacific International Airport, recalled that in July 2006, the Civil Aviation Authority granted the provisional license to operate the aerodrome then called Howard International Airport, under Category 7, regulate private use.

Similarly, in that date opened operations for maintenance and aircraft repair company with STA, also serving executive flights and serving as an alternate to the operations of the airline COPA, added the director. At the airport are working on meeting the demands presented by the market of national and international aviation in areas such as infrastructure and services that help to raise their status to 9 to the attention of larger aircraft.

Without doubt, the first planned development project in Panama erase the signs of what was a military airbase and enhance the overall image of a large shopping area, logistics and residential. While the protagonists (developer and manager) are reaching the numbers of companies according to their projections, the Panama Pacific Special Economic Area will remain the jewel in the crown of the Panamanians.

Link to Original Article:

From La Estrella

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