Panama Culture of Business

By | July 24, 2022


  • Introduction
  • Addressing
  • Business Meeting
  • Communication
  • Recommendations
  • Public holidays


The openness of the economy and the strong influence of the USA (the Panama Canal belonged to the USA until the end of the last millennium) is also reflected in the business world: communication in English is not a problem (a number of residents are bilingual) and due to the security situation, you can get information about contact persons faster than in other Latin American countries.

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You will also encounter the US influence in the case of Panamanian names – so don’t be surprised if you write Kimberley, Jessica, Franklin, Jonathan with the last name Douglas or Waterson. Sometimes Filippo Maestrini introduces himself on the phone – people with European ancestry are very typical for Panama. Do not expect to find a contact person on the website of the Panamanian company or on other publicly accessible databases. Assuming that you come across the company in question on the LinkedIn social network, it is quite likely that a number of its employees will also be linked to its profile. However, we recommend making the first contact by phone; only in this way you can verify the correct contact person with certainty. Panamanians are a very respectful people, so they expect you to do the same. Don’t skimp on words like please or thank you and the use of conditionals.

Business meeting

You can notify the local company of your personal visit to Panama even a month in advance (we recommend by phone). However, agree on a specific date at least a week in advance and confirm the meeting the day before. Try to arrange a meeting on the premises of the company – this is the only way you can be convinced of the relevance of the company as your future business partner.

In Panama, the saying goes, “Clothes make the man,” so you should prepare for the meeting accordingly. Formal attire inspires credibility and shows the seriousness you attach to personal dealings. Don’t be afraid of details – a little attention representing the Czech Republic always pleases. Loosen up your work schedule and don’t rush from one meeting to another. If you go out to lunch with the company after the business meeting, your working relationship will become stronger.

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Start communication with a telephone conversation, followed by sending an email with a presentation of your company or product. With telephone contact, it is possible to achieve greater attention from the Panamanian side and prevent the offer in the email from remaining unread. However, one call and email does not win. It is important to remind local companies regularly, and you can use various communication channels for this – email, phone, LinkedIn and WhatsApp. This application is not considered an informal means of communication and in the business world you cannot do without it. Compared to the big Latin American markets, communication in Panama is a bit more dynamic and you get feedback faster. Due to the influence of other cultures, they are not so “Latinos”, they are not afraid to say no to you and reject the offer of business cooperation. Visit Calculatorinc for more information about Panama culture and traditions.


  1. Discover the power of social networks – build networks of contacts; LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are your main cards up your sleeve.
  2. Take advantage of video meetings – during the pandemic, companies there have significantly opened up to remote cooperation and do not insist on a personal meeting before closing the deal.
  3. Reach out to the end customer – due to the size of the market, we won’t find a dense network of distributors here, which we are used to from large Latin American economies. A number of manufacturing companies therefore import goods directly from their suppliers.
  4. Install WhatsApp – it’s an important business communication tool. Are you waiting forever for an email response? Write on Whatsapp and the problem will be solved immediately.
  5. Spanish is an advantage, not a necessity – Panamanians are not afraid to communicate in English, which is due to the strong influence coming from the USA.
  6. Criticism aside – do not criticize your partner, even if it should be appropriate. You must never put him in an uncomfortable situation and he will treat you the same way. Respect is the building block of successful cooperation.
  7. Silence is disrespectful – not responding to you? In such cases, it probably doesn’t have the answer for you that you would expect. Be patient and, above all, do not put undue pressure on your partner.
  8. Keep your mistrust to yourself – give your partner a chance to prove himself and support him in his flight. If you show him doubts or suspect him, you will probably meet with incomprehensible reactions – distrust does not exist between friends (as he perceives you).

Public Holidays

Panamanians have a total of 11 national holidays, and some of them are even shifted so that their weekend is extended by a day (the so-called “puentes” are created). In addition, there are also a number of regional holidays and celebrations. We therefore recommend checking this fact before planning a personal visit to the country. The period from mid-December (especially from the Christmas holidays to mid-January) is a vacation period in Panama, and therefore reduced work activity.

  1. 1. New Year
  2. 1. Martyrs’ Day
  3. 2. Carnival
  4. 4. Good Friday (Easter)
  5. 5. Labor Day
  6. 11. Independence of Panama from Colombia
  7. 11. Day of the city of Colón

10.11. The first proclamation of independence

28.11. Independence of Panama from Spain

  1. 12. Mother’s Day

25.12. Christmas

Employment of citizens from the Czech Republic

The employment of foreigners in the country is not a problem, but compared to the employment of local forces, this mechanism is more complicated due to the protection of the national labor market. Both are governed by applicable labor law and migration regulations, which are continuously updated. For this reason, we recommend consulting with local legal counsel on a case-by-case basis. In general, it is necessary to obtain a work permit first (more details can be found on the website of the Ministry of Labor of Panama ) and then a migration permit (website Migración ).

Fairs and events

Expocomer – one of the largest food and agricultural fairs of international importance

Expo Logística – a trade fair focused on the field of transport and logistics

Overall, the quantity and quality of trade fairs in Panama is low.

Panama Culture of Business