Panama - Country Commercial Guide
Market Opportunities

Overview of best prospect sectors, major infrastructure projects, significant government procurements and business opportunities.

Last published date: 2021-01-08

Panama has no restrictions on the outflow of capital or outward direct investment.  Its accession to the World Trade Organization in 1997 opened trade and lowered tariffs across sectors giving Panama the lowest average tariff rates in Latin America.  

Consumer attitudes and many brand preferences are like those in the United States.  Many U.S. television and radio shows and magazines are popular and available in Panama.  Middle and upper-income Panamanians frequently travel to the United States for vacation, medical treatment, study, and business, and their buying patterns and tastes are like those of U.S. consumers.  U.S. goods and services enjoy a reputation for high quality and durability in the country.

Best prospects:

• Building products

• Medical equipment

• Disposable medical supplies

• Cybersecurity

Large infrastructure projects:

• 4th Electrical Transmission Line (500KW)

• Third Metro Line

• 100 Bridges Across the Country

U.S. companies face intense competition from state-owned Chinese companies that have won billions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure projects in recent years.  Panama established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China in June of 2017 and signed numerous bilateral agreements and began negotiating a free trade agreement that allowed Chinese SOE’s to win major tenders over a span of 18 months. The current administration has paused negotiations and taken a more measured approach thus far.