Includes typical use of agents and distributors and how to find a good partner, e.g., whether use of an agent or distributor is legally required.
Last Published: 2/23/2017
According to Panama's constitution, nationals and foreigners are treated equally under the law.  Both Panamanian and foreign companies must fulfill the same basic requirements to organize and operate most types of business activities in Panama.  There are restrictions on foreigners participating in retail trade and practicing certain professions.  In practice, however, there are legal ways to overcome these restrictions.  U.S. firms interested in retailing should consult a local attorney.  Please click here for a list of qualified attorneys in Panama.
 
There is no law regulating the relationship between international suppliers and local agents and distributors.  This relationship is only governed by the private agreements made between the parties involved.  In cases of contract termination or disputes, the private contract clauses prevail over any other document or practice.  U.S. companies are strongly encouraged to stipulate arbitration as the preferred mechanism for any dispute resolution, as opposed to reliance on the local court system.
 
Individuals may engage in business activities in their own names or through legal entities.  The most commonly adopted form of legal entity is the corporation (Sociedad Anonima, or S.A.).  Other types of legal entities commonly used in Panama are general partnerships, simple limited partnerships, joint stock partnerships, and limited liability companies.
 
To learn more about how we can assist you in securing an agent or distributor in Panama, please visit our website at http://export.gov/panama/servicesforuscompaniesYou can also call us at 011-507-317-5000, or email us at enrique.tellez@trade.gov.

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.



Panama Trade Development and Promotion