Ambassador Irieneo Raul Silvero Silvagni of the Republic of Paraguay in Seoul said that his government encourages Korean companies, known for their passion in work ethics, to aggressively explore the Paraguayan market.
Speaking at a recent an exclusive inrterview with The Korea Post, publisher of two Korean and three English-language news outlets, said, “The Korean companies have a great advantage when it comes to Paraguayan market because of a number of outstanding advantages. He said: “First, the Korean firms have been involved in the Paraguayan market for a long time and have operational offices in Paraguay; secondly, the Korean companies have a good reputation in Paraguay because they undertook infrastructure projects and other investments; and thirdly, Paraguay has a good image of Korean products and they are more advanced technologically.” Then he assured, “business cooperation between Korea and Paraguay is like a gold mine.” Details of the interview follow:
Question: Do you have any promotional plans for the development of relations between Korea and your country, including the possible dispatch of an economic delegation to Korea?
Answer: In the New Year, 2017, we will celebrate the 55th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Korea and Paraguay, our relationship has been developed considerably with more exchanges in various sectors. And Paraguay always has been supporting the Republic of Korea on international stage. The cooperation offered by Korean government has significantly contributed to the economic and social development of Paraguay. Currently, there are more than 6, 000 Korean emigrants living in Paraguay contributing their efforts to our country and 2017, it will be 52nd anniversary of Korean Immigration to Paraguay
The Paraguayan government encourages the Korean companies, known for their passion in work ethics, to aggressively explore the Paraguayan market.
As stated earlier, the Korean companies have a great advantage when it comes to Paraguayan market.
There are some Korean investments in Paraguay like the KBEC Korea, the waste treatment company. The FOAOH GROUP, a Korean company established in Paraguay, besides its business investment, has some cooperation work with the Government of the Central Department, in the field of education. With an initial investment of 10 million of the anticipated 40 million dollars, the auto parts factory “THN Paraguay SA” begins its activities in Paraguay.
It can be mentioned that business cooperation between Korea and Paraguay is like a gold mine, and the sectors of infrastructure, building, food industry, logistics and services, textiles, clothing and garment production, auto parts and car accessories, and tourism as the main ways that both countries can work together. And there is a friendly business environment in Paraguay, a investor-friendly legal framework and efforts to improve infrastructure are key to Paraguay’s efforts to diversify its economy, and within this context, the Korean companies will find a suitable environment for their business opportunities. Paraguay sees Korea as strategic ally in the building of its own development.
In 2017, some Korean companies will participate in the International Fair on Trade Industry Service and Tourism, to be held in the month of July, in the city of Mariano Roque Alonso in Paraguay. This Embassy is planning to organize three Trade and Investment Mission from Korea to Paraguay during the next year.
Q: In what areas are the areas of economy where Korean companies are welcome in your country? Do you have any specific Korean business organizations in mind favorably considered for economic cooperation with your country?
A: Paraguay invites to the Korean companies to invest in many fields, such as infrastructure, auto parts, food products and others. Paraguayan exporter offers to the Korean market its products; beef, pork, stevia, leather, mineral water, soybean, sesame, chia seeds and others.
Q: What are the major New Year development plans of your esteemed country in the New Year in economic and political fields in the 2017?
A: Paraguay and Korea are strategic partners and many world affairs, and we invite Korean and Asian companies and investors to come do business in Paraguay.
In terms of political issues, Paraguay supports the Republic of Korea in the multilateral organizations and in the United Nations, this Paraguayan foreign policy will not change during next year, 2017. The Korean government cooperates with Paraguayan people in many areas as in education, health, infrastructure and others. The government of Paraguay has set three main goals. The first aim was to drastically decrease the poverty levels in Paraguay, the second aim was to achieve strong economic growth through social inclusion, and the final aim was the total opening of Paraguay and the Paraguayan market to the outside world.
There have been some notable successes; total poverty has been decreasing steadily but some regions of Paraguay need stronger intervention in terms of health, education, roads and especially drinking water. In these fields, we have the strong support from KOICA.
Paraguay is a landlocked country in the center of South America. In terms of territory is more than 4 times bigger than South Korea, but in terms of population, Paraguay has less than 15% of the Korean. We have made great progress in positioning ourselves as a needed partner for the bigger economies. For example, Paraguay is fully integrated into Brazil’s industrial supply chain through our industries such as auto parts and machinery, clothing, toys, plastics and general manufacturing, adding competitiveness to the economy of our major trading partner. We are also recognized as an efficient and major logistics hub for river cargo.
Today some 25% of our GDP is agri-business related, while our services and commercial sectors add up to 50%. Industry is becoming a force and a contributor with 12% and we are seeing a steady growth in this area. Paraguay has enormous potential for auto parts manufacturing, food and agri-business, plastics, electro-intensive industries and clothing, and this Embassy will work in these areas, as well, with the Korean companies and institutions, during the year 2017. The tourism sector is other area where Paraguay will work with the Republic of Korea in order to give more opportunities to the people and companies of both countries.
Q: Who is the Head of Government of your country?
A: The President of the Republic of Paraquay is His Excellency President Horacio Cartes. President Cartes has embarked on a successful business career, which today translates into a diverse conglomerate of companies with interests in carbonated beverages, tobacco, meat production, finance, and aviation. With a sharp sense of social responsibility, the “Cartes Group” leads the local market by employing more than three thousand workers. His business philosophy is not complete without these tenets: improvement of workers' skills, smart capital management, and technological innovation.
Football represents an important asset in his business career. From 2001until 2012 he was president of the prestigious football Club Libertad. He also led the department of the Paraguayan Football Association as head during the qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
After joining the center-right Colorado Party in 2009, he was elected President of Paraguay in 2013 on a ticket to attract international investment, create jobs and modernize the country´s infrastructure and institutions.
In December 2016, in the Development Center of the Organization for the Economic Cooperation and Development, in Paris, the President Horacio Cartes express that
“Paraguay, my country, is changing. This economic, social and institutional transformation is aimed at improving the quality of life of all the inhabitants of my land.
In the last decade, we have had a significant economic growth, with an average of 5% per year. This year, Paraguay will have the best growth rate in the region.
We have an orderly monetary policy, with low inflation and a stable currency, the Guaraní, with 73 years, the oldest currency in Latin America. We have a sound financial system, a tax system that encourages investment, a balanced government budget and a sustainable public debt, the second lowest in the region and the lowest growth rate.
Paraguay offers one of the highest returns to foreign direct investment in the region, in a context of free capital mobility.
We are the first exporter of clean and renewable energy in the world, with several hydroelectric plants, among which we have Itaipu, one of the largest on the planet, which belongs to us in a condominium with Brazil.
We are the fourth largest exporter of soybeans worldwide and the sixth largest exporter of meat. Despite having no sea coast, our country owns the third largest river barge fleet in the world, after China and the United States of America.
Paraguay enjoys good climate, fertile land and many other natural resources, with more than 90 rivers and one of the largest reserves of fresh water in the world, the Guaraní aquifer.
In addition to these nature benefits, it has a great demographic wealth, where more than 66% of the population is less than 35 years old, which represents an enviable potential of human capital.
We embarked on a wide-ranging consultation process at the national level in 2013 to agree on the country's medium-term vision and determine the strategies and catalytic objectives that guide this process of national transformation. Thus was born the National Development Plan Paraguay 2030, which guides our reform processes and economic and social dialogues between the Government, the private sector and civil society.
The main purpose of our efforts is to build a competitive country, one of the most efficient producers of food for the world, with strong and innovative industries, oriented towards a knowledge economy and targeting a country with social development indexes in the range The highest in South America, connected to the world, environmentally sustainable and inclusive”.
Q: Please state whatever other important details we might have left out from the above questionnaire.
A: The Minister of Foreign Affair, Ambassador Eladio Loizaga, has informed the Korean business community that “Paraguay has very clear and stable rules. We offer predictability for foreign investors; they can count on us and know that we are not going to change the law every year. My door is always open and we are always here to listen and to help any problem that investors may have, from Korea and from other Asian countries as well. We are tough on corruption and we have competitive energy, which is a major factor for companies looking to invest as well as our clear and simple tax system”.
This confidence in Paraguay’s economic policy is borne out by the reception the country has received on international bond markets, and also from global ratings agencies such as Moody’s and Standard &Poors. As Fernández explains, “The first thing is that any profit earned by businesses here is going to retain its value, because we have a history of low inflation. We also have the second oldest currency of the region – over seventy years old – and we have a good history of currency stability.
"The second thing is that we can guarantee investors are going to be able to send their money to their countries, because we have a comfortable level of international reserves. We don’t have any policy that restricts or restrains remittances or profits to anywhere outside the country. For me it is important to have a sound fiscal policy, otherwise we would be putting too big a strain on monetary policy,”