June 24 2008 -With the new infrastructure being built and the growth of the Colon Free Zone, it is surprising that very few North American countries are taking advantage of this extensive area.
Panama City, Panama, June 24, 2008 -- The Colon Free Trade Zone is located on the gateway to the Panama Canal and is the largest free zone in the Americas. It has been operating since 1948, yet many American companies have not taken advantage of the extensive area. The prime location of the Colon Free Zone has helped it to become the second largest Free Zone in the world, yet U.S. Companies are not using it to their full advantage.
The Panama free zone area has been expanding over the last few years, and the 1000 acre area took approximately $16 billion in transactions in the last year. This is up from the $14 billion that occurred in commercial transactions the previous year. The extension of the Panama Canal will increase the flow of global trade, and new buildings and projects are already under construction in anticipation of the completion of the Canal project. A new four-lane highway is being built which will make travel from Colon to Panama even more efficient. Already the free zone employs over 20,000 local people and this number is set to increase in the next few years.
With the new infrastructure being built and the growth of the Colon Free Zone, it is surprising that very few North American countries are taking advantage of this extensive area. Almost half of all of the goods imported into Colon come from China and are then exported into the Latin American countries and the Caribbean. The amount of good exported to North America makes up only a paltry 3.6%.
Some American companies believe that it would not be beneficial to them to use the Colon free zone unless they are selling in the area. They say that their U.S. system is sufficient for what they do. Many big American companies however would find the use of Colon very beneficial as they buy many of their goods from China and are looking for new retail markets.
Everything that is imported into the Colon Free Trade Zone is exempt from local taxes. Companies who want to use the area do not need to be incorporated in Panama, facilitating the use of the free zone. Storage spaces are available and do not cost very much. The storage buildings are clean and spacious and are built with sloped roofs to prevent any rain from damaging the products.
The American companies that are using the Colon Free Trade Zone are more than happy, and have reeked in the benefits. U.S. products are as yet not readily available in Latin America, but would be very popular if they were there. Several U.S. companies appear to believe that the Colon free zone is corrupt and home to counterfeit products. Although it may not be possible to keep an eye on everybody, Colon says that if anything corrupt is occurring then it will be a very small minority. They have a lot to offer U.S. Companies, and believe that if the North American companies were to come down and visit Colon, they would be pleasantly surprised.
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