General jurisdiction information:
Panama (officially known as The Republic of Panama) is a state in Central America that extends over the Isthmus of Panama and connects two American continents. Panama also includes 1,500 islands. The population is around 3,500,000 and the capital city is Panama City.
The Panama Canal is the backbone of the Panamanian economy and was fully transferred to Panama by the USA in 1999. Significant income is generated by ship registration under the Panamanian flag. Panama also boasts a “Colon Free Zone” which is the second largest free economic zone (after Hong Kong) and one of the most successful international trade centres.
Flexible corporate legislation, an advanced banking sector and legal and insurance services promote the reputation of Panama as the main regional financial centre. It is one of the world’s most prominent international offshore zones with hundreds of thousands of registered companies.
The official language is Spanish but English is also widely used, especially in the business community.
The official currency is the Balboa (PAB) and the US Dollar (US$).
Panama provides a variety of corporate legal forms and organisational structures, but the most popular is the company limited by shares (the corporation) known as Sociedad Anónima, S.A., regulated by Law No. 32 of 1927 and the Commercial Code. Legislation also provides for the formation of partnerships, limited and unlimited companies (S de RL), foreign corporations, branches and private funds.
Companies limited by shares (S.A.) are entitled to engage in any legal business around the world.
Foreign corporations (registered abroad) may maintain an office and conduct business in Panama but it must be registered in the Commercial Register.
Panama offers a hi-tech telecommunications system and an advanced transportation network.