ECONOMY

Free Zone reduces employment by 9,000

Economic activity at the zone has dropped substantially in two years.

Temas:

A sustained commercial downturn at the Colón Free Zone has resulted in the loss of 9,000 jobs over the past two years, from 33,000 to 24,000.

In addition, it is estimated that in the past three years more than 400 users have withdrawn their operations from the free zone. There are now about 2,600 businesses there.

"The crisis is still serious," said Severo Sousa, chairman of the Zone's Logistics Council.

At a meeting of the council yesterday, the members discussed ways to reverse this situation, including reducing government fees to make the zone more competitive.

"If the government does not take the necessary measures to oxygenate the zone, I don't think that the outlook will improve," said José de la Rosa Lam, president of the Colón Chamber of Commerce.

Economic activity in the zone fell 31 percent in 2014 and dropped 43 percent in the first five months of the year.

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