By Peter Tase
This official meeting took place at the presidential residence, Mburuvicha Roga in Asuncion. President Cartes was joined by Juan Carlos Lopez Moreira, the President’s Chief of Staff, and Gustavo Leite, Paraguay’s Minister of Industry and Commerce. During this conversation the Paraguayan head of state reiterated his government’s commitment to strengthen political relations and further increase bilateral commercial ties with Brazil.
Minister Pimentel, announced that a delegation from the Parana State Industry Federation will visit Asuncion very soon, were Brazilian Businessmen will be able to identify possible areas for new investments and present valuable proposals for the development of urban infrastructure as well as become reliable partners in strengthening the economy of Paraguay.
After the meeting with his Brazilian colleague, Minister Gustavo Leite, announced that very soon another important conference will take place between Paraguayan and Brazilian Business leaders in the city of San Paolo, Brazil.
This meeting between President Cartes and minister Pimentel marked the beginning of bilateral cooperation agreement between the National Institute of Metrology, Quality and Technology of Brazil and its Paraguayan counterpart, the National Institute of Technology, Standardization and Metrology.
In the context of further strengthening the bilateral relations between Paraguay and Brazil as well as secure Venezuela’s membership to MERCOSUR, on December 10, 2013 President Horacio Cartes met at the Lopez Palace with the Secretary General and Vice Minister of Brazil, Ambassador Eduardo Dos Santos to discuss pressing items of the bilateral agenda and Venezuela’s membership to MERCOSUR.
After his meeting with President Cartes, Dos Santos, who has previously served as Ambassador to Asuncion, stated that the approval of Venezuela’s membership to join MERCOSUR by the Paraguayan Senate “is an act that strengthens even more the framework of MERCOSUR.”
In his first one hundred days in office, on November 7, 2013, President Cartes hosted another important meeting with representatives of 130 Brazilian companies interested to invest in Paraguay and bring significant contributions to the bilateral agenda of partnership between Asuncion and Brasilia.
The delegation was led by Nadia Campeao, the Vice Prefect of San Paolo and Arnaldo Samaniego, Mayor of Asuncion, was the host of this delegation. On behalf of the delegation, Mrs. Campeao expressed their high interest to establish new businesses in Paraguay and explore the great investment opportunities that Brazil’s southern neighbor has in areas such as public works, ports and logistics, renewable energy and construction of a new electrical grid infrastructure.
The business leaders requested more support from the Paraguayan Government and assured the head of state that they are seriously considering to invest in Paraguay; they have many infrastructure projects that will be presented to Paraguayan government this year.
Very soon the Brazilian Association of Infrastructure and Industry will have its headquarters in Asuncion, and this decision will continuously foster investments of Brazilian capital, in energy and infrastructure, as a result this would generate more employment and better standards of living in Asuncion.
In this meeting participated also Paulo Godoy the President of Brazilian Association of Infrastructure and Industry (ABDIB), Ralfh Terra, Executive Vice President of ABDIB and Gregorio Tetti Nivaldo, general director of ABDIB.
Since last year, President Energy, a U.S. company, has undertaken various seismical studies and invested more than US$30 Million to determine the location where to excavate the three wells in March, 2014 and this will confirm the existence of oil and natural gas in the region of Chaco Paraguay.
According to Narciso Cubas, Director of Oil Exploration in the Paraguayan ministry of Public Works, “Paraguay today has 49 untapped oil rich locations and 43 of them are situated in the region of Chaco. However not a single source is operational because they do not guarantee enough quantity in order for President Energy and other companies to make a profit.” Paraguay’s energy sector relies completely on oil imported from Venezuela and Brazil; therefore it is essential for the national economy to have a cutting edge domestic industry that is focused in exploring and refining crude oil. This is an area where Brazilian investors could participate given that Paraguay’s energy sector is at its infant stages; such corporations could play an important role in industrializing and substantially improving the energy sector in the Paraguayan Chaco, making it more self reliant and less dependent on imports. The Chaco is a vast semi desert region and a very sparsely populated area which is in the occidental and northern part of the landlocked country. In 1932 a border dispute sparked a war between Paraguay and Bolivia that lasted three years, until the end of 1935. Since 1930’s every President in Asuncion has been interested and devoted to exploring oil in the Chaco; however, only the government of President Horacio Cartes has constantly been supportive and highly optimistic; in a matter of few months President Cartes will have the privilege to see the final results of his country’s decades long efforts in oil exploration and hopefully announce Paraguay as an oil rich country.
Paraguay and Brazil re-established bilateral relations in November 12th, 2013, when Jose Martins Felicio the new Brazilian Ambassador, presented his credential letters to President Horacio Cartes in the Lopez Palace and Ambassador Manuel Maria Caceres, Paraguay’s Ambassador to Brasilia had also presented his credential letters to President Rousseff in Brazilia. According to Eladio Loizaga, Paraguayan Foreign Minister, such an event “was very important in the bilateral relations between Paraguay and Brazil.”