Setting Up An International NGO In Panama

If your desire is to grow the operational range of an international NGO, we recommend that this NGO establish a branch in Panama. The Latin American country has a privileged geographical position, from which it has greatly benefited in order to become the Logistics Hub of the Americas. Its strategic location by air, sea and land. commercial, logistic, financial, and digital issues of global reach provide your NGO a privileged scope if established in the country. The country’s logistical benefits have led many multinationals to establish themselves in Panama (177 to date including Procter and Gamble, Adidas, Halliburton, Dell, Bayer, Caterpillar, Bauer, Phillips and Nestlé, among many others), but it has not only been an attraction for multinational companies, but also for NGOs, which have seen Panama as the ideal place to establish themselves, taking advantage of the country’s security, economic and political stability, privileged when compared to other countries in the region. In addition to benefiting from the logistical privileges offered by the Hub of the Americas, NGOs also enjoy unparalleled legal security, protected by the Panamanian Constitution and special NGO regulations that provide them with economic, labor, immigration, and tax benefits, among others. Panama has special economic zones, which provide benefits to those who settle within its borders. In addition, the country has a special economic zone exclusively dedicated to NGOs, known as the City of Knowledge. City of Knowledge as an Operational Center for NGOs The City of Knowledge was designated as a special business, scientific, and technological economic zone in 1998. The campus is hosted in a former US military base. It is a management platform that focuses on enhancing the innovative and competitive capacity of the users sharing its Campus. Integration, dynamic networking, and joint efforts facilitate knowledge transfer. This allows for an unusual concentration of innovative companies, international organizations, focused on development, as well as academic and research institutions, resulting in a lively and collaborative community. To reinforce this dynamic, the City of Knowledge provides access to a range of benefits and services oriented to the needs of its users. The City of Knowledge is home to the main center for NGOs and international organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean. From the innovation campus operates the United Nations Regional Hub and other organizations that work for a more just and sustainable world, and for the human development of the continent’s populations, such as: CATHALAC, Norwegian Refugee Council, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Special Olympics Latin America, IOM, Pan American Health Organization, World Health Organization Americas Chapter, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, UNDP, World Food Program (WFP), OAS, UNICEF, UNOPS, Peace Corps, among many others. Benefits of Setting Up in the City of KnowledgeBeing part of the City of Knowledge allows companies that establish themselves here to receive tax, labor, and immigration incentives:    

a. Tax Benefits:

  • Exemption from all taxes, contributions, fees or import duties on machines, equipment, furniture, vehicles, artifacts and supplies necessary for the development of companies accepted at the City of Knowledge Technopark.
  • Exemption from the Tax on the Transfer of Movable Goods and Services (ITBMS) on machinery, equipment, vehicles, artifacts and supplies acquired and necessary for the development of companies accepted at the City of Knowledge Technopark.
  • Innovative companies that produce, assemble, process high technology goods or provide services of the same characteristics destined for sale in the local or international market in the Panama International Technopark (TIP), enjoy the following benefits:
  • Its activities, operations, transactions, procedures, and transfers of movable and immovable property, the purchase and import of equipment and construction materials, raw materials, machinery, tools, accessories and supplies will be one hundred percent free of direct taxes, contributions, fees, duties and national levies. It includes income tax exemptions for companies.
  • Its capital will be free of direct national taxes, including patent or license taxes.

    b. Immigration Benefits: 

  •  The state grants special visas for foreign personnel entering the country to contribute to the development of the City of Knowledge project.  

     c. Labor Benefits:

  •   Companies installed in the City of Knowledge are entitled to hire the international staff necessary to carry out their work1.

    d. Other Benefits:

  • Telecommunications, IT, and educational technology services, including an smart high-tech centers with the required capacity for teleconferences, distance learning, fast internet connections, and other services. 
  • A Point of Presence (POP) with direct access to the land portion of 5 International Fiber Optic cables that go across Panama (PAC, SAC, ARCOS, Pan-American, Oxygen. Maya and Google). 
  • Infrastructure and buildings in good maintenance condition, easily adaptable to various uses. 
  • Technical, administrative and consulting services. Constant electricity flow (99.9%) with redundant power supply from the Panama Canal thermal plant located 300 m (328 yards) away in the Miraflores locks. 
  • Complimentary accommodation and catering services.
  • Sports and recreation facilities.
  • Access to major higher learning and scientific research centers in the country.
  • Access to the Panama Canal Basin, a living laboratory for scientific research and technological innovation on advanced tropical ecosystem management. 
  • Centric location: next to the Panama Canal, 15 minutes from downtown Panama City, 5 minutes from Amador resort and 45 minutes from Colon city, located on the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal.

  Pardini & Asociados provides full services offering the following:

  • Setting up the NGO
  • Real estate brokerage to locate office and living premises for the company and its executives through our affiliated real estate broker
  • Legal services for setting up all operations, contracts, permits, etc.
  • Opening banking account
  • Applying for visas, work and residence permits for expats
  • Others

 For more information, please contact  Adrian [email protected] Pardini & Asociados