By Peter Tase
On March 30th, 2015, Peter Tase, Foreign Policy News contributor, had a brief conversation with Mr. Sebastian Brizuela, to shed more light in the growing influence of exports that Paraguay is acquiring and its current economic potential which improves its presence in the global markets of agricultural goods.*
Mr. Brizuela provided an overview of the major products that occupy a major share in the matrix of Paraguayan exports, stating the following: “Paraguay, has primarily an agricultural country, it exports a greater amount of unprocessed agricultural products, in this sector soy beans production has a large portion especially in the recent years in which soybean oil is being manufactured in our country. Beef exports and its derivatives also have a considerable contribution in generating revenue, almost at the same levels as exports of soy beans. Recently our beef products have been exported in Taiwan and will reach the European Union markets this year; meanwhile last year the Republic of Chile begun to import Beef from Paraguay. The United States is also an important market for Paraguay’s beef exports.
Wheat, corn, rice, fruits and vegetables, leather, organic sugar; are leading Paraguay’s exports in the region and the world. At the same time Stevia or Ka’ȃ He’ȇ is clearly considered as a product with a growing potential in Paraguay’s list of exported commodities, as well as the introduction in international markets of native Paraguayan medicinal plants, are considered to be vital for our national economy, they are the green treasure of our agriculture. Other products in the national exports’ list are textile products and apparel manufacturing.”
In relation to the present micro and macro economic and financial reforms that have taken place in Paraguay, Mr. Sebastian Brizuela stated: “Paraguay is a country of great opportunities and an ideal place to establish foreign investment projects and its open economy is friendly to international entrepreneurs; not only from its innovative perception, but also from a myriad of advantages and benefits our country offers to potential entrepreneurs. Foreign Investments are extremely important towards consolidating sustainable development in Paraguay, considered to be a premier nation that exports agricultural and organic food products.
The evidence of such a dynamic evolution is reflected in the long list of agricultural products exported in the first three months of 2013, reaching over USD 3.1 Billion and the quantity of products being exported is in a growing trend and that is continuing to flourish during the present year. In the first place is the Soy bean sector, grain, oil and wheat, with USD 1.48 Billion; in the second place is Electrical Energy, with USD 729 Million; and the third most important commodity is organic beef exports, reaching a total of USD 446 Million. Other products are: Textiles, Clothes and shoes factories, Leather, Organic Sugar, Stevia, have generated over USD 257 Million. Exports of cereals such as Grain, Rice and Corn, have generated over USD 226 Million, only in the period of January-April, 2013. This sector has experienced a significant growth if compared with the same time last year.
The Paraguayan beef is a successful exports product – model, while the excellent performance of the agro-industrial sectors, renewable energy and industry, contribute to the consolidation and unprecedented economic growth of Paraguay in Latin America. Another positive aspect is the momentum that has received the modernization of transportation services which make our national economy more dynamic and agile. The National Logistical Plan, implemented by the Ministry of Public Works and Communications (MOPC) and the National Agency of Export and Imports (REDIEX) an agency under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, are responding to a process that prioritizes competitiveness and ensures consistency and responsibility in the executive roles of the supply chain.”
About the effective use of rivers and their navigable potential and their importance for the national economy, Mr. Brizuela stated the following: “The transportation network of rivers is essentially based in the Parana and Paraguay water ways, these are fundamental in assuring the progress of our national economy, even though there are some difficulties when Paraguay River is affected by draught, in which the circulation of logistics has a navigation problem in several sectors beginning outside the port of Pilar. However, thanks to a strategic alliance between the government and the private sector, a joint action will soon make a viable investment towards the purchase of cutting edge technological machinery that will work to enable the Paraguay River be navigable year round. Paraguay River is the most transportation route that improves freight costs, and shifts forward our national economy. Today there are a number of private ports located in various parts of the country, and certainly transportation of commodities is much better than seven years ago.”
* Mr. Sebastian Brizuela is the Director and Editor in Chief of Revista Logistica in Paraguay