The businessmen of the Colon Free Zone (CFZ), considered the largest free zone in the Americas and located in the Panamanian Caribbean, today asked the Government to result from the elections next May that hears the "clamor" of the business community and return the "attractive" to the commercial enclave.
"Today more than ever, when Panama's economy slows down, it is urgent to recover the commercial boom, for which we reiterate that clearer laws are required that do not allow stoppages and strikes that affect the movement of cargo, modernize operations and renew the infrastructure of the area", said the Association of Users of the Colon Free Zone (AUCFZ).
The businessmen indicated in a statement that "it is essential to make a round of negotiations with all the client countries of the CFZ so that they recognize the certificate of origin of our cargo, which is the main impediment to doing business with the region".
The free zone, which is located a few meters from the Atlantic entrance of the Panama Canal, employs more than 25,000 people and there operate about 3,000 companies engaged in re-export.
The commercial emporium went through a severe crisis in 2015, when its revenues fell almost 8 percent, mainly due to the economic situation in Venezuela, to the tariffs that Colombia applies to the re-exports of some products and to the revaluation of the dollar.
The commercial platform closed 2017 with a movement of 19,713 million dollars, 0.3 percent more than that registered in 2016, while between January and November 2018 its commercial activity increased 9.7 percent with respect to the previous period, according to official data.
"This percentage of recovery reflects only the slow commercial movement of certain items, so it does not permeate the economy of the country as in previous years, high-tech products, pharmaceutical and logistics businesses are those that recover slowly, the rest is not replenished", they added.
The businessmen also called for the "internal as well as external" attacks to cease, because saying that the CFZ is a place that promotes illicit trade "reduces" the activity.
On May 5, 2019, Panama will hold general elections and renew all positions of popular election, including those of president and vice president, deputies of the National Assembly, deputies of the Central American Parliament (Parlacen), mayors and representatives of corregimiento.