Panama’s modern economy, like so many others, is primarily a service-based economy. Nearly 80% of its economy comes from providing some sort of service, especially in the banking, commerce, and tourism sectors. Other portions of Panama’s income are derived from shipping, some manufacturing, and crop exports, especially of bananas, sugar, and coffee. Agriculture and fisheries haven’t made up more than 10% of Panama’s GDP in a very long time, though. The largest sector of exported manufactured goods is antibiotics.
Panama taxes businesses on a territorial basis, which means it only taxes income or gains that come from business done within Panama. It does not tax income or gains that come from business done outside of Panama. There is also a sales tax of 7%. Panama does not have a central bank underwriting its many other banks, which means those banks must be conservatively run to prevent catastrophe.
If you are interested in making the move to Panama, you’ll want to find yourself a job in one of the country’s more active sectors. This means you should have experience in finance, law, business, or tourism, including hospitality or the food service sector. If you have a background in one of these more in-demand sectors of the economy, you will be more likely to be able to support yourself once you arrive in Panama.