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Thursday, March 21 2019 @ 11:53 PM UTC

No More Smuggling Stuff Out Of The Colon Free Trade Zone

Money Matters TVN Noticias - People involved in the purchase of retail goods in the Colon Free Zone will no longer be permitted to do so because they could be charged with the crime of "smuggling." According to the manager of the Colon Free Zone, Leopoldo Benedetti, the law will be enforced because the rules are clear in stating that no company is allowed to engage in retail sales. He warned that those companies or individuals who risk buying retail goods will lose their investment and will be accused of smuggling, while those companies who sell goods at the retail level could risk the cancellation of their operating license. Other measures will also be implemented. For example, entrance to the Colon Free Zone will be restricted to only those who have met all of the legal formalities, said Benedetti. (See Comments)

Editor's Comment: Another one of Panama's "open secrets." For years, every since I've lived here, people go into the Colon Free Trade Zone and "smuggle" stuff out to sell it on the retail market in Panama City. Have you ever wondered why there's so much cheap stuff available? Well, there has always been a network of bribery firmly established that allows people to take stuff out of the Free Trade Zone, which was imported into the country tax free because it was supposed to be re-sold and re-exported without ever actually entering Panama. Anyway, the government of Ricardo Martinelli is also cracking down on this practice, because all of these retail goods are supposed to be paying import taxes and tariffs (to the government of Panama) and it also represents a level of unfair competition for everyone else who doesn't own a company in the Free Zone, who can't smuggle stuff out by the truckload. And to be clear - what people have been doing for decades is simply paying bribes to the guys who work at the gates to look the other way. So, with this they put the ka-bash on one more loophole, and are making an effort to address another one of Panama's long standing "open secrets."

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