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AMCHAM Interview: Juan F. Pardini

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Juan Francisco Pardini:
"Panama needs to create long term trust and security for investors"

Ex president of Amcham and founder of Pardini & Asociados, Juan Francisco Pardini talks about Business Panama Magazine, about the investment laws, the legal stability and its incidence on the free trade treaties, the participation of AMCHAM in the relations between United States - Panama and about the 25 first years of foundation of his company.

Dr. Pardini, ¿Which is your vision of Panama from the point of view of our legislation? Are our legal means of support in accordance with the current Panama?

Panama has a privileged geographical position and important political, economical and legal foundations. From the point of view of the investors /businessmen, on one hand, Panama has different laws that promote investments such as the law of corporations, the law of legal stability, the contractual freedom and others that have tax incentives for the development of specific economic sectors; on another hand, when the investor is already established in Panama he faces 3 serious problems: corruption, excessive bureaucracy and justice administration. These problems are not new. We all know about them but they are not solved. The irony is that when we are in an international conference promoting the country, no one mentions them. Of course, it can also be said that this problem is not only of Panama, but of many other countries, but if we really want to develop Panama as an emerging economy of the 21st. century, these problems require major surgery. 

Panama has open the compass of economic items to the investors who see in the country favorable conditions to bet on sectors that cover from the construction, maritime industry, tourism, energy, mining, etc., ¿Are we providing an adequate offer to the investors? If so, ¿what legal contributions we are not covering or we could improve in order to give more incentive to the investors?

More than recommend new incentives, what Panama really needs is to create long term trust and security for investors at a long term, principally when investors face lawsuits or bureaucracy problems. This is the most important incentive that Panama has to provide. The Free Trade Commerce Treaty between Panama and the United States (TPC) contains mostly dispositions regarding legal stability, equal treatment; investments protection, mechanism for the solution of controversies and, at least with the United States, when this treaty is ratified, the North American investors will have a much more stable and safe scenario for their investments and trade. 

As ex president of AMCHAM, ¿which is the role of the associations and specifically which is AMCHAM's role regarding United States - Panama?

In my life I had the opportunity and the honor of participating as director or president of several organizations such as, APEDE, AMCHAM, UPS, CICYP, PanCanada and others. The principal role of the associations should be to promote their objectives and defend the interests of its membership.

The bi-national associations such as AMCHAM generally has not been involved in national politics subjects. The active participation of the Panama Chamber of Commerce, AMCHAM and

other associations in the process of the negotiation and ratification of the Free Treat Agreement (TPA) between Panama and the United States has been very positive.

I consider that in this era of free trade and investments treaties and others, the bi-national associations should play an active and vital part within the process of said treaties because they are the bridge between the private sector and the government of both countries, such is the case of Canada and the European Union.

After 25 years of foundation of Pardini & Asociados, ¿What is your reflection regarding the path outlined?

This modern legal practice was founded 25 years ago, with a focus on Corporate, Commercial, Trust, Admiralty and Maritime law, which still continues today. Since then, Pardini & Asociados has been at the forefront of many innovative legal developments. During the past 15 years, the law firm has developed a highly specialized practice in foreign investments mainly in the areas of Tourism, Real Estate, Energy, Mining, Petroleum, Aviation, Telecommunications, Intellectual Property, Insurance and Reinsurance, M&As, Banking, Corporate Finance, Securities, Antitrust and Competition, Manufacturing, Infrastructure, Construction, Labor, Immigration and Litigation.

Pardini & Asociados became one of the first to be a signatory of the "United Nations Global Compact". In fulfilling one of the principles (Principle N° 5 Abolition of Child Labor"), of the Global Compact, 

Pardini & Associates, decided to focus its efforts in a centre for unprivileged kids called "City of Children", launching the program "Building Values in Children" which we have maintained during 6 years now. In addition, the firm also joined "IntegraRSE", is a non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting corporate social responsibility and assisting foreign and local corporations.

Pardini & Asociados is the exclusive Panama member of the International Business Law Consortium with associated offices in more than 100 cities around the world. “ This means that we are positioned to assist our clients, where our clients do business”.

The active participation of the Panama Chamber of Commerce, AMCHAM and other associations in the process of the negotiation and ratification of the Free Commerce Treaty

between Panama and the United States has been very positive.

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