Law No. 112, signed on July 30, 2001, was the first law in the region to deal with e-commerce. A revised law (Law No. 55), passed in July 2008, enhanced the legal framework for developing e-6 Selling U.S. Products and Services in Panama commerce activities and strengthened the institutional setting for an effective application and management of the different aspects of e-commerce defined by the law.
Basic features of the e-commerce law are the following:
It gives legal force to any transaction or contract completed electronically.
It makes electronic signature a legal instrument except for real estate transactions and succession purposes.
It creates the National Directorate of Electronic Commerce (Direccion Nacional de Comercio Electronico) as part of the National Commerce Directorate of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to oversee the application of the law and act as a regulator.
It defines certification organizations, which will issue signature certificates and define operating procedures. A certificate will allow any person or organization to claim legitimacy.
It establishes that certification entities will register on a voluntary basis.
The Panamanian Chamber of Commerce has led a program to increase use of e-commerce, with financial assistance from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). A number of Panamanian firms, especially supermarkets and consumer electronic stores, offer e-commerce facilities and more firms are working on providing these facilities.