Tomás M. Ávila M. is the Secretary General of the Panama Maritime Authority. Tomas is a lawyer, graduated from the University of Panama’s Law School; holds a postgraduate degree in Public Law and a Masters in Business Law from the Interamerican University of Panama. In his more than 25 years of practice, his experience has focused on non-contentious maritime law, providing legal services to owners and consultants in the registry of ships and has been specially prominent as foreign counsel in ship financing transactions representing banking and international financiers in Asia and the Middle East, well recognized by his peers–locally and in different countries as reflected in international specialized editorials such as Chambers & Partners Global Guide to Leading Lawyers, The Best Lawyers and The Legal 500. From a young age he has been active within professional associations, such as the Panama Maritime Law Association (PMLA), with the aim of contributing to the constant improvement of the country's competitiveness as a center of international services. Thus in the mid-90s he participated in activities organized by the National Maritime Commission, which resulted in the enactment of Decree Law No. 7 of 1998, which created the Panama Maritime Authority. He also helped in drafting the Maritime Labor Code (Decree Law 8 of 1998) and participated on behalf of ship owners in discussions at the International Labor Organization. His colleagues from the forum entrusted him the Presidency of the PMLA from 2004 to 2008, which allowed him to contribute to increase relations between the private sector and the public sector, extending a bridge for frank and open discussions between the lawyers and the Maritime Administration of the period. It was during his presidency that PMLA was called to work in the drafting and discussions to enact the Maritime Laws of Panama (Laws 55, 56 and 57, 2008). Since July 2014 he has taken up the post of Secretary General to the Panama Maritime Authority, where he has contributed with his knowledge of the industry to a successful administration. He represents the Administration in different meetings and forums and is a well-known speaker in maritime-related events.