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Keith Woolford

Colon Free Port Initiated, and Then

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Colon Free Port Initiated with First Purchase by President Varela


At 6.14 p.m. on Friday the president Juan Carlos Varela made the first purchase under the special system Colon Free Port.

The President acquired a refrigerator of 21 feet, at a price of $700 to donate to the public school New Tocumen Airport. "Today, less than a year that will begin to govern the Law of Colon Free Port, we see a project made reality, Colon is the witness of the first sale under the special system, through one of the businesses that are already duly registered in the Register of investment of Colon Free Port," he explained.

Varela emphasized that through this system of purchase savings in the import tax, benefit to be able to access all Panamanians with a limit of $1,000 every six months, in addition to the reactivation of the economy in the province.

With the first acquisition of this Friday, the Colon Free Port is also available for foreign tourists, who may buy exempt from all taxes and unlimited, while nationals may acquire from jewelry to devices without a tax import tariff.

Colon Free Port with the first technological platform for automatic exemption apply to nationals and tourists, without having to perform further steps. The company in charge of developing this platform was Crimson Logic who managed the interconnection in the databases of the Electoral Tribunal, the National Customs Authority, the National Migration Service, the Directorate General of Income, the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Requirements to buy

The tourist will have to present his passport or boarding pass in case they come by the port. National data of Cedulas are interconnected through the Electoral Tribunal to confirm the right to purchase, then with the system verifies that the buyer is in force. With the platform, each trade will take an inventory of the goods that are on sale and can lead the balance of the buyer.


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Here is some background to the Free Port program which extends duty free shopping to an additional section of Colon for the benefit of the public, tourists, and the City.

Cabinet Council approves Colon-Free Port Project


Monday, 29 of June of 2015  |      Isidro Rodríguez

The Cabinet Council approved this Monday one of the most anticipated projects by the people of Colon, due to the economic impact it will generate in the Province of Colon.

After 23 years, the modification and addition of articles to Law 29 from December 30th, 1992 was endorsed, in order to implement and operate the Special Free Port System for the Province of Colon, as well as the modification of Law Decree 18 from June 17th, 1948, which creates the Free Zone of Colon (ZLC, for its initials in Spanish) as an autonomous entity of the State.

Through the first initiative proposed by the Secretary of Commerce and Industries, Melitón Arrocha seeks to promote private investment together with public investment.

Through this initiative, which is part of the strategies by the Government of the Republic of Panama to improve the city of Colon with the Urban Renovation Project and will invest more than 600 million Balboas, seeks to develop a Free Zone area in the Casco Antiguo of the Atlantic Coast.

Through this project, the benefit of the Free Zone of Colon will be extended to 16 streets of the city and nearby areas, allowing tourists and Panamanians to buy retail.

The regulation also establishes a compromise to hire Colon´s labor force.  A percentage of the workers must be from the Province of Colon, so investors may have the incentives.

The exoneration will be maintained at 0% import taxduty and will grant incentives to investors to promote investment attraction, under the scheme of Panama´s Casco Antiguo (incentives to finance loans, incentives to the lessee and lessor of the property, incentives to the merchant, parking areas).

Decree creating the Free Zone of Colon is modified

Among the objectives to modify 67 years later Law Decree 18 from June 17th, 1948, which creates the Free Zone of Colon as an autonomous entity of the State, are: modernize its legal frame, incorporate concepts from contracting law, allow the consolidation of business operations in the Free Zone of Colon under other regimens, respecting independent benefits.

In addition it seeks to incorporate figures that speeds up administrative proceedings of ZLC users for a unique window, adaptation of migratory and labor concepts, recognition of the existing tax regimen for the ZLC and provide greater legal security to users and new investments.

Both projects are the result of consults and consensus reached with businessmen of Colon, professionals, authorities and social, economic and political forces, with the common end to adopt actions that allow Colon transforming in a pole of national development.

Investment of 600 million Balboas

These initiatives add to 600 million Balboas that will be invested in the Province of Colon in 22 projects, including the construction of houses, adaptation of sanitary systems, restoration of the historic center of the city and road, security, educational, cultural and public infrastructures, as well as green areas, through the Urban Renovation of Colon Project being executed by the Ministry of Housing and Territorial Management (Miviot, for its initials in Spanish).

Regarding this topic, the Executive Secretary of the National Council for Sustainable Development (Conades, for its initials in Spanish), Manuel Soriano announced the projects from the Program “Sanidad Básica 100/0” (Basic Health, in Spanish) that will be executed in the Province of Colon.  Among these, he mentioned the construction of 405 sanitary units for the township of Cativá, 600 hygienic bathrooms for the township of Salamanca, at a cost of 2.1 million Balboas, the construction of 1,342 sanitary units for the township of Buena Vista, at a cost of 4.5 million Balboas and the construction of 1,434 hygienic bathrooms for the township of San Juan, which represents an investment of 4.7 million Balboas.

In addition, 282 hygienic bathrooms will be built in the township of Ciricito, 342 sanitary units for the township of El Guabo, 104 hygienic bathrooms for the township of El Achiote and 57 latrines will be eliminated in the township of María Chiquita.  The total cost of these works is 2.8 million Balboas.

As part of the Urban Renovation Project of Colon, Conades bid the services of Management, Administration and Technical Assistance of the renovation program of this province at a value of 13.5 million Balboas. In addition, this entity hired the Consultancy for the Study of the Environmental Impact of this project at a cost of 284 thousand 630 Balboas, as well as started the restoration of the Park November 5th, located between 6th and 7th Street and Avenue Manuel Amador Guerrero, at a cost of 900 thousand Balboas.



Edited by Keith Woolford

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Banned Cubans were keeping Free Zone alive


Posted 25/07/2019

The decision of the Panama government to suspend tourism cards for Cuban Citizens was a mistake according to former vice-chancellor Luis Miguel Hincapié, on Thursday, July 25. "The Cubans were keeping the Colon Free Zone afloat. None stayed, they came to buy and left. A pity," he Tweeted



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