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Tuesday, April 23 2019 @ 10:54 PM UTC

The APEDE Reports Low Economic Freedom For Panama

Foreign Direct InvestmentEconomic freedom in Panama slightly decreased in the past year due to restrictions on foreign investment, among other factors, according to the Panamanian Association of Business Executives (APEDE).

The rate used to measure economic freedom, in a scale of 5, was placed at 2.85 for Panama between April 2012 and April 2013, less than the 2.92 recorded in the previous corresponding period, according to the report prepared by the APEDE and released on Monday.

The closer it gets to 5 the greater the economic freedom, according to the scale used by the Panamanian Association since 2002.

"None of the sectors improved, all the sectors remained the same, and we had a small decrease in foreign investment," said Roberto Brenes, president of the Free Enterprise Committee from APEDE in a press conference.

The executive did not say what influenced the "decline of foreign investment" and to what extent it did, and the report only mentions the factors analyzed to calculate the index, including restrictions on repatriation of earnings and profits.

In 2012 Panama captured 3 billion dollars in foreign direct investment, according to a report by the Central Institute of Fiscal Studies (ICEF), based in Guatemala, noting that Central America registered the “record” figure of 9.7 billion dollars in this category.

Brenes told journalists that other factors, such as corruption or government spending, affected the Panamanian economic freedom.

The Government involvement in the economy has one of the lowest scores (1.0), due to the State intervention in the Colon Free Zone, Electricity Transmission Company, the National Bingos or the National Lottery Charities, said the report.

The calculations made to prepare the report released on Monday state the Government's participation in the economy represents 47.1% of the gross domestic product (GDP).

However, the score of the government regarding control in banking and finance is 4.0 based on 5, which reflects on the few existing restrictions for opening banks, leaving the financial activity in the hands of supply and demand, said the APEDE in its report. (Panama America)

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