San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Former U.S. Base in Panama Will Become Business Park

PANAMA CITY (AFP) – ThePanamanian Congress announced lastweek that the former Howard Air ForceBase – once the U.S. military’s largest airforce base in the region – will be convertedinto a Special Economic Area to attractforeign high-technology firms.Located 15 kilometers west of thecapital, on the Pacific entrance to thePanama Canal, the former base covers2,200 hectares and includes an airportwith hangars, passenger terminals anddozens of other buildings not being used.The Dell Computer Company last yearcreated a call center on the former base, andseveral other foreign companies, includinga Ukrainian airplane and helicopter repaircompany, have expressed interest in settingup shop in the new Special Economic Area,which would provide tax incentives similarto a free-trade zone.The government hopes that the neweconomic area will become an importantsource of employment for the capital.

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