The construction of the Panama Diamond Exchange will begin within the next few months but the Panama Diamond Exchange intends to start operations this year at temporary headquarters in Punta Pacifica.
The Panama Diamond Exchange shall be the 29th diamond exchange in the world. The Panama Diamond Exchange has been recognized by the World Federation of Diamond Exchanges as an Exchange in the process of being established. The Panama Diamond Exchange is expected to attract 150 companies, provide 3,000 jobs and $5 billion in economic activity within five years of operation.
A Diamond Exchange is a non profit organization created to facilitate legitimate diamond trade as well as the trade of other precious stones. It is similar to a stock exchange in that only the members can use the facilities and it has certain requirements for membership. It it is also like a free trade zone in that its merchandise enters and leaves the country without being duties and its transactions are tax free.
The President of the Panama Diamond Exchange, Mr. Erez Akerman, indicated that they have seen a lot of progress from the government in terms of furthering the institutional framework required for operating the Panama Diamond Exchange. One of the most important issues to be addressed is Panama´s affiliation to the “Kimberley Process”, an international initiative born in 2000 to curtail the illegal diamond trade, the trade in “blood diamonds”. In addition to this the government needs to issue an operating license and free trade zone status although Mr. Akerman mentions that the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is being quite helpful in moving the process along.
The Panama Diamond Exchange has already acquired land in Costa del Este and has had plans drawn up for a 40 story building. The initial investment of establishing the exchange and the construction of its headquarters is estimated at $200 to $300 million dollars. Already the Panama Diamond Exchange has affiliation requests from 118 companies and they expect to have 150 companies when they are ready to open.
Panama was chosen to host this international initiative due to its geographical position, the green back economy, political stability and top notch banking system. The Panama Diamond Exchange is the only diamond exchange in Latin America and shall provide jewelers and precious stone producers with access to international markets and legitimate distribution networks.
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