Fonseca & Asociados | Law Firm Since 1980

FONSECA & ASOCIADOS is a well renowned Law Firm within our Country and also Internationally. Our areas of practices are offshore Company and Private Interest Foundations structuring, Immigration Programs, Litigation, Merge and Acquisitions, Maritime and flag Ship Registration, Banking Law, Real Estate Investments, agrarian law and many others with exception of Criminal Law.

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Official Name:

Republic of Panama

Geography:

Area:
78,200 sq. km. (30,193 sq. mi.); slightly smaller than South Carolina. Panama occupies the southeastern end of the isthmus forming the land bridge between North and South America.

Cities:
Capital--Panama City (827,828). Other cities--Colon (140,908), David (102,678).

Terrain:
Mountainous (highest elevation Cerro Volcan, 3,475 m.--11,468 ft.); coastline 2,857 km. (1,786 mi.).

Climate:
Tropical, with average daily rainfall 28 mm. (1 in.) in winter.
People

People:

Nationality:
Noun and adjective--Panamanian(s).

Population (July 2004 est.):
3.1 million.

Annual growth rate: 1.31%.

Ethnic groups:
Mestizo (mixed Amerindian and European ancestry) 70%, Amerindian and mixed (West Indian) 14%, Caucasian 10%, Amerindian 6%.

Religions:
Roman Catholic 84%, Protestant 15%, other 1%.

Languages:
Spanish (official); 14% speak English as their native tongue; various indigenous languages. Many Panamanians are bilingual.

Education:
Years compulsory--6. Attendance--95% for primary school-age children, 60% for secondary. Literacy-92.6% overall: urban 94%, rural 62%.

Health:
Infant mortality rate-20.95/1,000. Life expectancy-72.14 yrs.

Work force (1.1 million):
Commerce (wholesale and retail)--19.1%; agriculture, cattle, hunting, silviculture--14%; industries (manufactures)--8.8%; construction--7.7%; transportation, storage, communications--7.2%; public and defense
administration--6.9%; other community and social activities--5.8%; hotels and restaurants--3.7%; financial intermediation--2.6%.

Government

Type:
Constitutional democracy.

Independence:
November 3, 1903.

Constitution:
October 11, 1972; amended 1983 and 1994.

Branches:
Executive (the President (chief of state), two Vice-Presidents). Legislative --Legislative Assembly (unicameral, 71 members). Judicial (the Supreme Court).

Subdivisions:
Nine provinces and five (Indian) territories.

Political parties:
Former President Mireya Moscoso belonged to the Arnulfista Party (PA).
The PA in coalition with smaller parties held a slim majority in the Legislative Assembly. The Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) was the primary opposition. Represented by its presidential candidate, Martin Torrijos, the PRD on May 2, 2004 won the presidency and a legislative majority and took power on September 1, 2004.

Suffrage:
Universal and compulsory at 18.
Economy

Economy:

GDP (2003): $18.62 billion (nominal).

Annual growth rate (2002): 0.8%; (2003): 3.2%.

Per capita GDP (2003): $3,906.

Natural resources: Timber, seafood, copper.

Services (78% of GDP):
Finance, insurance, health and medical, transportation, telecommunications, the Canal and maritime services, tourism, Colon Free Zone, public administration, and general commerce.

Agriculture (5% of GDP):
Products--bananas and other fruit, corn, sugar, rice, coffee, shrimp, timber, vegetables, livestock.
Industry/Manufacturing (11.2% of GDP): Types food and drink processing, metalworking petroleum refining and products, chemicals, paper and paper products, printing, mining, refined sugar, clothing, furniture, construction.
Trade (2002 figures include Colon Free Zone or CFZ): Exports--$5.3 billion: bananas, petroleum products.