Why is panama so important for the world?

The Panama Canal is, in fact, a fundamental cornerstone of global shipping. It serves as a vital link between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, allowing ships to avoid the long and dangerous journey around Cape Horn, at the southern tip of South America. Panama is a small country with about 4.4 million inhabitants. It has benefited from steady economic growth, but poverty and income inequality have been persistent and have disproportionately affected rural indigenous territories and to the Afro-Panamanian populations.

It should be noted that the increase of protected land from 33% to 54% and strong ocean conservation efforts have made Panama one of only three countries with negative carbon emissions in the world. Assistance to Panama aims to ensure that Panama remains a safe, prosperous and democratic country that continues to collaborate closely with the United States. The United States and Panama work together to promote common interests, including improving citizen security and strengthening the rule of law. Our countries cooperate in many ways, including the fight against illegal drug trafficking and other criminal activities, as well as the promotion of economic, democratic and social development. More information about Panama is available on the Panama page and in other State Department publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.

Revenues from Panama Canal tolls obtained from shipping companies have been one of the main revenues, which support economic growth in the Republic of Panama to a large extent from a negative point of view. As can be seen in Figure 4, toll revenues from the Panama Canal have continued to increase every year since 1998. Panama's first known inhabitants built complex hunting and farming societies, and Panama's numerous indigenous groups now represent more than 10 percent of the country's population, and larger groups administer their own semi-autonomous territories. Because of the width restriction of the original locks (only 33.5 meters), inevitably many large container ships heading to the east coast of North America from Asia could not cross the Panama Canal and, instead, use daylight saving time at the port of Portland, Oakland or Long Beach, on the west coast. An almost impenetrable jungle forms the Darién divide between Panama and Colombia, where Colombian guerrillas and drug traffickers operate and sometimes take hostages. However, Panama cannot yet compare with the position of Hong Kong or Singapore as financial centers in Asia.

There are more bird and plant species in Panama, a country the size of South Carolina, than in all of Canada and the United States combined. Prior to the delivery, the Government of Panama held an international tender to negotiate a 25-year contract for the operation of the container ports located at the exits of the Canal in the Atlantic and Pacific. Outside of Panama City, regional festivals are held throughout the year with local musicians and dancers. At the same time, since 40 percent of cargo bound for the United States passes through Los Angeles or Long Beach, most of the ports on the east coast of the United States and the Gulf of Mexico were being dredged to prepare the new Panamax ships and are upgrading their equipment before the expansion project ends.

Temperatures are markedly cooler in the higher parts of the mountain ranges, and frost occurs in the Talamanca Range, in western Panama. In April 1988, the President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, invoked the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, freezing the assets of the Panamanian government in all American organizations. However, on the other hand, the ACP has been paying attention to its neighboring rivalry: the supposed Nicaragua Canal, which will become a major threat to the Panama Canal when it opens. The new expansion of the Panama Canal waterway is one of the most arduous projects ever achieved with human effort and ingenuity.

Panama and the United States belong to many of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Maritime Organization, and the World Trade Organization.

Abigail Angelotti
Abigail Angelotti

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