BASIC ASPECTS OF ELECTRONIC COMMERCE IN PANAMA

Companies selling goods or services via the internet do not require previous approval. The registration of companies that carry out commercial transactions through the Internet is voluntary. The matter in Panama is regulated by Law 51 of July 22, 2008, which establishes that those companies that provide commercial services through the Internet may register voluntarily and free of charge before the General Directorate of Electronic Commerce (DGCE).

A company that sells goods or services through the Internet is considered established in the territory of the Republic of Panama, when its domicile or registered office is in  the national territory and effectively maintains centralized administrative management of its business and / or when the company, or any of its branches that sells goods or services in the national territory, has obtained a commercial or industrial license or has obtained the Notice of Operation before the Ministry of Commerce and Industries (Commercial License).

In that sense, if the company is domiciled in Panama, and its operations are performed in Panama, then it is governed by the laws of Panama, regardless of where the website is located, but if the company does not have a domicile registered in Panama it will be subject to the principle of territoriality and although if it can carry out commercial transactions through the Internet, it is not subject to the laws of Panama.

In the cases in which a commercial operation is not domiciled or registered in Panama and does not maintain physical presence in Panama, although it may carry out its transactions, they are estimated to originate from abroad, and Panamanian regulations do not apply. Only the terms and conditions that are agreed between the merchant and customer will apply.

Sales of goods and services over the internet from abroad will be carried out under the regime of free provision of services, subject to the principle of free contracting between the parties.

Every provider of commercial services through the Internet will be obliged to describe in the best possible way, including images, the product or service offered through the Internet.

REQUIREMENTS TO REGISTER A WEBSITE WITH THE DGCE

To register a website with the DGCE the following information must be filed with the General Directorate of Electronic Commerce:

  • Business name of the company *
  • Name of the legal representative of the company
  • Copy of the registration certificate in the Public Registry
  • Copy of the Notice of Operation or Commercial License
  • Name of the domain (s) of the website (URL) *
  • Physical address of the main office or habitual residence *
  • Contact emails for users / customers of the website *
  • Contact telephone numbers for users / customers of the website *

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

– To complete the registration process, the website must have been in operation at least 15 business days.

– The data marked with an asterisk (*) must appear on the website, be it on the Home Page, the Contact Page, the Footer, the Terms and Conditions, or any other location within the website that is easily accessible to users.

– The website must have Terms and Conditions of Use, and Privacy Policies at the time of requesting registration.

– The DGCE will visit the main office of the business to complete the registration process of the website.

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