Joining the World Free Zone Organization
Some 40 Central and Latin American free trade zones have agreed to become part of the World Free Zone Organization, which provides support and advice to these operations, in order help them develop, foster awareness of free zones internationally and help adopt best-practice guidelines.
The agreement was made during the 17th Congress of World Free Zone of the Americas, held in Panama City earlier this month.
Free zones are crucial in promoting global trade, stimulating growth and creating jobs, said keynote speaker Dr. Ahmed Al Zarooni, pointing to the success of the concept in Dubai.
Free zones from Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador have applied for membership in the organization, which was launched on May 19th this year, and is headquartered in United Arab Emirates.
Nicaragua's free trade exports will grow by 6.4 percent this year, with sales reaching $1 billion, mainly from call centers and the manufacture of automotive parts and agro-industrial products, according to the country's central bank.
Garment exports accounted for $660 million during the first three quarters, representing a 3 percent increase over the same period last year.
Panama's free trade zones in 2012 had total trade of $555 million, including $300 million of exports and $255 million of imports.
In Costa Rica, attracted by the economic potential of free trade zones, developer CasaNovo Partners announced a residential project in August this year aimed at Costa Rican free zone workers.
Companies operating in free zones near the project include Amazon, Hewlett Packard, Intel, IBM and Boston Scientific.