Multinational Companies to open headquarters in Panama

Panama has expanded the number of multinational corporations that benefit from the Multinational Corporation Headquarters ( SEM ) Act. The change came October 23, 2017, as 143 corporations made the list.

The new companies on the SEM Act that will establish headquarters in Panama include Visa, Inc. and McKinsey & Company, Inc. (both from the United States), Panalpina World Transport LTD. , (parent company in Switzerland), Hankook Tire Co., Ltd. (South Korea) and the train manufacturer CRRC Corporation Limited (People’s Republic of China). The latter is considered one of the leading global companies engaged in the manufacture of trains. 

The Ministry of Commerce and Industries (Mici) confirmed that these multinational companies will establish headquarters  in Panama, which will translate to an investment of more than $ 3 million and, at least, 75 jobs in the first year of operations. 

The new SEM licenses were approved at the recent meetings of the Commission of Multinational Company Headquarters. The Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade, Nestor Gonzalez, has said that the interest of multinational companies looking at Panama as an option to establish their regional headquarters are due to the benefits offered by the country (through the SEM Law) and its geographical position and connectivity. 

González explained that with each multinational that arrives in Panama more local labor is needed and that contributes to the economy of the country. The important thing to do, said the vice minister, is to motivate these multinationals to share their knowledge to the Panamanian workforce. "It’s a great challenge we have," he added. 

“For a multinational, it is less expensive to hire a Panamanian than to bring a foreigner. " Néstor González, Vice Minister of Foreign Trade explained. 

Gonzalez said that by the end of this year the establishment of between 15 and 18 SEM companies are expected in Panama (12 have been confirmed so far in 2017). 

According to Law 41, SEMs may have the necessary number of trusted personnel and executives of senior management to carry out their operations in Panama.