Panama to exchange information with other countries
In 2018, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Panama will adhere to the expansion of the network of countries with which it will exchange financial information automatically.
Panama had committed itself to the Global Forum on Transparency of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to automatically share financial information in accordance with the Common Reporting Standard (CRS), but only to do it based on bilateral agreements.
Panama was one of the five countries that committed to the automatic exchange through a bilateral mechanism. The other four are Bahamas, Hong Kong, Brunei and Macao. Most jurisdictions, have opted for the multilateral mechanism to which Panama is now adhering.
To date, Panama has signed five agreements between competent authorities (United Kingdom, Holland, Italy, Mexico and Norway), and has concluded three others (Spain, Germany and Japan). It also maintained 8 open negotiations and 10 more planned for 2018. However, the Foreign Ministry recognizes that "the bilateral route used to date has not been very effective in reaching agreements."
The Foreign Ministry noted that more than 50 jurisdictions are interested in exchanging information with Panama, and clarified that even if it moves to the modality of multilateral exchange, "Panama will continue to have the right to determine with which countries it agrees to the automatic exchange of information."