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Competitiveness program to strengthen Panama public sector
14
Dec '07
The Inter-American Development Bank announced the approval of a US$51,323,000 loan for the first phase of a broad competitiveness program in Panama, which has reached several trade accords in recent years to expand its access to international markets.

To take advantage of opportunities created by these pacts, Panama needs to boost its competitiveness and increase the efficiency of public sector agencies responsible for promoting exports.

The competitiveness program will strengthen the public sector's capacity to negotiate and manage trade agreements and increase its ability to implement plans to foster exports and attract foreign investments. An electronic platform will be developed to provide services, information and data on trade and simplify procedures for exporters and investors.

To take advantage of Panama's competitive conditions for exporting fruits and other farm products, the program will stimulate technological innovation and strengthen the government-run animal and plant health services and the new food safety agency.

Under the program a loan guarantee trust fund and medium- and long-term lines of credit will be established to expand access to financing for Panamanian companies, especially exporters and their suppliers.

The US$10 million trust fund will provide guarantees for up to 80 percent of loans issued by local banks and other financial institutions. Two separate lines of credit will be created, one for large andmedium-sized companies and another one for small businesses and microenterprises.


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