Panama - Industry

The performance of Panama's industry as a whole was negative during the 1980s, but garnered a 7% growth rate during the 1990s. Construction, manufacturing, mining, and utilities together accounted for 17% of GDP in 2000, but industrial activity decreased by 1.5% that year. The government and the private sector have invested large amounts in the construction of ports, roads, and bridges. Thus, the production of construction-related materials and finished wood products have all risen considerably in recent years. Construction activity itself rose7.5% in 2000.

Limited by a small domestic market, Panamanian manufacturing represents around 8% of GDP. Growth in production reached an average 1.1% annually between 1978 and 1988, rising to 5.4% between 1988 and 1998 due to an import-substitution high tariff regime which ended in 1998. Manufacturing of mainly nondurable goods consists principally of food-processing plants and firms for the production of: alcoholic beverages, sugar, ceramics, tropical clothing, cigarettes, hats, furniture, shoes, soap and edible oils. Other manufactured products include clothing, chemicals, cement, and construction products for domestic consumption.

Panama has potential to further develop its mining industry. The country has one oil refinery with a production capacity of 60,000 barrels per day. The government's privatization program was largely complete as of 2002.

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