We are often asked about the opportunities available for opening a business here in Panama. So we thought we would share our thoughts on this subject. I hope you find it helpful.

Here are many people from all over the world doing very well in business providing services in all kinds of industries. Panama offers a strong economy, business is easy, and trading simple. 

There are however rules and regulations, and jobs that are not permitted to be performed by NON-Panamanians. he list below may not cover everything, and I would also like to suggest that before going too far with a business, that you seek advice from a competent Attorney. Be sure to be very clear about your objectives, and the scope of your activities.

Every business that qualifies as a “service” is permitted. For example a qualified plumber, builder, hairdresser… Keep in mind, you can open a salon and you can manage a salon, but you will not be able to get a job as a hairdresser.

Retail business is reserved for Panamanians. This was established in the Constitution. Wholesale business is permitted, retail is not. If you develop a product from your home or workshop, and sell it to a store that is wholesale. If you open a store and sell your products to public that is retail.

Farmers have many opportunities available for doing business. You are allowed to farm and wholesale your crop. Panama is very conducive to growing many different things, and the weather is free!

If you decide to open a business, you really must be motivated, have patience, respect the Panamanian Laws, and provide your clients with excellent customer service. You have to be dedicated and give it your all to become successful.

Panama is still a young country, and growing rapidly. For many, this can be a fantastic opportunity to do business by offering services. Some, give up on their business before it has a chance to grow. It takes time! News of great service travels fast in this small country. And the opposite too!

There will be some major factors necessary for success. First, a very clear plan to follow including a realistic time frame to achieve your goals. training your staff to execute a clearly defined scope of work is critical. When dealing with the local labor force it is important to understand the cultural differences, and find a way to get the best of them, and motivate them to achieve for themselves, as well as the business. This is a fine balance, and will require patience and leadership.

Following a list of Jobs that are not allowed to be performed by a foreigner:

– Dentist
– Dental assistant
– Lawyer
– Veterinarian
– Chiropractors
– Medical, including: Doctor, Nurse, Medical Assistant, Medical Radiologist, Laboratory technician, Pharmacist, Nutritionist
– Therapists, such as: Sociologist, Psychologist, Physiotherapist, Speech therapy
– Social worker (unless it’s on a volunteer basis)
– Accounting
– Hairdressing and Cosmetology
– Chemist
– Engineering and Architecture
– Agricultural Sciences
– Journalism
– Public Relations
– Economist

Again, I encourage you to speak with a qualified Attorney before diving right in! We are available at your convenience for any questions you might have.


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