By Publisher Lee Kyung-sik, COO Kim Hyung-dai
Ambassador Raul Silvero Silvagni of the Republic of Paraguay in Seoul had very high praise for the Korean companies actively engaged in the promotion of bilateral cooperation in the economic field.
Speaking at a recent interview with The Korea Post, owner and operator of 3 English and 2 Korean media organizations for the past 34 years, Ambassador Silvero Silvagni said, “One example is THN, a Korean company established in Paraguay, an automobile parts company aimed at the Brazilian market that has built production bases in my country, due to its simplified labor management and low wages.”
At the special interview which was conducted on the occasion of the 208th anniversary of the National Day of Paraguay and the 57th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Korea, Ambassador Silvero Silvagni emphasized the importance of increased cooperation between the two countires in the economic field.
Then he cited another Korean company, Dongwha, which he disclosed was starting its operation in Paraguay, producing diapers and ladies’ hygienic towels.
“The Paraguayan government and these companies,” he said, “want to forge collaborative relationships such as strategic alliances, joint ventures, and technical cooperation with Korean Companies.”
Excerpts from the interview with Ambassador Silvero Silvagni follow:
Question: What are the important developments scheduled between Korea and your country, including the possible visit of your Head of Government to Korea?
Answer: This year, on the occasion of the 57th 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 7, 000 Korean emigrants living in Paraguay, since 1965, contributing their efforts to our country.
Paraguay has a great potential as a production and logistics base for entry into the Brazilian and Argentine markets, because its tax system is simplified and one of the lowest level of taxes in the region, its production costs is lower compare to Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, and many other benefits for foreign investors.
One example is THN, a Korean company established in Paraguay, an automobile parts company aimed at the Brazilian market that has built production bases in my country, due to its simplified labor management and low wages. Another Korean company, the Dongwha Company is starting its operation in Paraguay, producing diapers and ladies’ hygienic towels. The Paraguayan Government and Companies would like to forge collaborative relationships such as strategic alliances, joint ventures, and technical cooperation with Korean Companies.
Paraguay would like to work with the Republic of Korea in order to establish a Technology Innovation Center or a Trade Incubator in the Paraguayan territory that would be used by SMEs from Paraguay and Korea aiming to reach Brazilian, Argentina and Uruguay’s market.
Q: What are the areas in your country where you want Korean companies to invest and what are the areas where you wish your businessmen to invest in Korea?
A: The Paraguayan government encourage the Korean companies, known for their passion in work ethics, to aggressively explore the Paraguayan market.
The Korean companies have a great advantage when it comes to Paraguayan market because of the following:
Frist, the Korean firms were involved in the Paraguayan market and have operational offices in Paraguay. Secondly, the Korean companies have a good reputation in Paraguay because they undertook infrastructure projects and other investments. Thirdly, Paraguay has a good image of Korean products and they are more advances technologically. Some of the Korean companies in Paraguay are: THN Company, producing autoparts and wires for Hyundai Factory in Sao Paulo; Donghwa Company, to start production of ladies’ hygienic towels and diapers; Shopping Paris, a Korean commercial center in Ciudad del Este; Shopping Bonanza, another Korean commercial center in Asuncion; KBEC Korea, a waste treatment company, and many others. Hyundai Motors, Samsung, LG and other Korean famous enterprises has offices in Paraguay.
THN 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. The Hyundai-Kia group is one of the powerful Korean companies dedicated to the manufacture of electrical panels and wiring for vehicles of Hyundai-Kia. The Asian firm “THN Corporation” of the Hyundai Group in Korea currently has nine plants around the world: four in the Republic of Korea, four in China and one in Brazil. In accordance with the precedents, only in Brazilian market have an annual turnover in order of 600 million dollars. With regard to the installation of the complex, which head office finds in 23 kilometers from the Ruta II, in an area of 12 hectares, official bodies of Paraguay as the Ministry of Labor and National Service for Promotional Advancement (SNPP: Ministerio de Trabajo y el Servicio Nacional de Promoción Promocional) signed an interinstitutional agreement for the training of staff to be required by the “maquiladora” (“twin plants”). The entrepreneurs reported that the high-tech auto-parts manufacturing business will generate a great deal of manpower in Paraguay, estimated at around 3,000, once the facilities operate properly.
Q: What is the current volume of bilateral trade, its outlook in the next 12 months?
A: The trade volume between Paraguay and Korea is about 300 millions US$.
Indeed, in addition to the strong political and cooperation relations, the commercial pillar is an important part of our relationship, from which Korean and Paraguayan businessmen are increasingly benefit. In this way, Paraguayan companies offer Korean consumers products from the rich Guaraní land, such as the natural sweetener known as stevia, yerba mate, chia, sesame, meat products, charcoal, soy and derivatives, leather, among other products.
Q: Congratulations on the National Day of your esteemed country. Please introduce in detail the National Day for our readers.
A: In the 208th Anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Paraguay, we remember the greatness of all national heroes who offered their sweat, blood and life to attain the freedom we are all enjoying now in our motherland. In effect, the insurrection in Paraguay against Spain was influenced by the doctrines proclaimed by the French Revolution. Paraguay already had their Revolt of the Comuneros years earlier (1717-1735), and its principles were identical with those of the French Revolution. In the period of 1810/1811, the Asuncion authorities rejected the proposal from Buenos Aires, to be part of the Argentinean nation. The Paraguayans fought against the Argentinean, defending their autonomy and freedom, in several battles, with a very weak support from the Governor of Spain. This lack of action from the Spanish authorities, exasperated the Paraguayans, and on May 14, 1811, the Revolution broke out. However, the revolution ended on May 15, 1811, with the capitulation of the Spanish authorities, thanks to the actions carried out under the command of the Paraguayan heroes as Captain Pedro Juan Caballero, Captain Mauricio Jose Troche, Doctor Gaspar Rodriguez de Francia, Ignacio Iturbe, Fernando de la Mora and others. It is important to remember these facts very briefly, since we are commemorating the 207th Anniversary of the Independence of Paraguay.
At present, Paraguay has an active and leading role in the international community. Paraguay is working very hard at regional and global levels to strengthen the bilateral and multilateral relationships that will enable it to face the challenges of its own development, such as the reduction of poverty’ the employment creation, mainly for young people, and the technological development. The principles of the Paraguayan social system are based upon the rule of law, the respect for human rights and a political system founded on democracy.
In August, 2018, H.E. Mr. MARIO ABDO BENITEZ took power, as a President of the Republic of Paraguay, elected in General Elections. And, it is very important to mention that the judicial stability and the respect to the foreign and national investments are also one of the cornerstones of the State's policy, carried out by the President Abdo Benitez and his Government. In this context, we invite the Korean, and other Asian countries' businessmen to visit Paraguay and evaluate the many possibilities and opportunities we are offering in a favorable market environment for investor, with appropriate human and material resources for the development of business competitiveness on a global scale. In addition to its skilled-young labor and fertile land with abundant fresh water reserve, Paraguay is one of the biggest producers and exporters of food and renewable energy in the world. In the other hand, Paraguay is in the process of diversifying its industrial sector and for this purpose, the Paraguayan Government invites to the Korean companies, to take advantage of investment opportunities in our country. Paraguay has a stable legal regime and it has signed international agreements, which promote investments, including a simplified and competitive tax system. Its Maquila scheme allows the production of various goods, including auto parts, spare parts, electrical machines, computer ports and other items to be exported to the Mercosur’s market, mainly in Brazil and Argentina.
Q: Please introduce your Head of Government in detail, including major achievements.
A: His Excellency Mario Abdo Benitez is the President of the Republic of Paraguay.
He was born in Asunción on November 10, 1971.
He began his academic training, at the San Andrés School, period (1976-1989) GED Test USA (1989) where he completed his primary and secondary.
His university studies were conducted at Teikyo Post University, Connecticut, USA. UU (1995) obtaining the title of Bachelor in Marketing.
The President of Paraguay is 46 years old and is married to the businesswoman Silvana López Moreira Bo.
Young exponent of the Colorado Party
He officially began his political career in 2004 with only 33 years.
In 2008, he was Vice President of the Republican National Association, which then had Senator Lilian Samaniego as its head.
In 2013 he occupied a legislative banking for the first time.
He was President of the Chamber of Senators in the period 2015-2016.
Young person committed to work and the development of the country
In the private sector, he has also executed a series of activities in a responsible, committed and successful manner. Entrepreneur of the construction sector, in the period 1997-2012 he was Chairman of the Board of the Storage and Distribution Company of Asphalts S.A. "Aldia S.A", a Paraguayan company with more than 20 years of experience in the local market. Under his leadership, the company carried out national and international transport with its own fleet from Brazil and Argentina, fulfilling the responsibilities of strategic, financial planning and auditing.
On April 22, 2018, with more than 46% of the votes, he beat the liberal Efraín Alegre and thus became the new President of the Republic of Paraguay for the period 2018-2023, thus becoming the 9th. President of the democratic time and the 50th. President in the national history of Paraguay, counting from the government of Carlos Antonio López, considered the first constitutional president of the country.
Major achievements of Mr. Mario Abdo Benitez’ Government:
Paraguay is transforming. This economic, social and institutional transformation is aimed at improving the quality of life of all the Paraguayans and foreigners living in my country. In the last decade, we have had an important economic growth, with an annual average of 5%. The last year, Paraguay had one the best growth rate in the region. We have an orderly monetary policy, with low inflation and a stable currency, the Guaraní, with 75 years, the oldest currency in Latin America. We have a solid 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 one with the lowest growth. Paraguay offers one of the highest returns to direct foreign investment in the region, in a context of free capital mobility. We are the leading 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 condominium with Brazil.
We are the fourth largest exporter of soybeans worldwide and the sixth largest meat exporter. Despite having no maritime coastline, our country has 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.
Besides these kindnesses of nature, it has a great demographic richness, where more than 66% of the population is less than 35 years old, which represents an enviable potential of human capital.
The main purpose of the Government’s efforts is to build a competitive country, located among the most efficient food producers for the world, with thriving and innovative industries, oriented towards a knowledge economy and targeting a country with social development indexes in the range highest in South America, connected to the world, environmentally sustainable and inclusive. Paraguay is a democratic, supportive, efficient, transparent State that promotes equal opportunities for all.
Paraguayan Government is implementing policies to strengthen the human capital of the broad youth segment we have, with projects such as the National Program of Postgraduate Scholarships Abroad (BECAL Program) aimed at young Paraguayans who qualify to study at any of the 300 best universities in the world, as well as the Scholarship program for teachers to train in the best international centers.
We promote the effective connection between private companies, universities and research centers, in Science, Technology and Innovation Programs, to increase the productivity of our companies. Within the framework of deep economic transformations, and with the purpose of generating the necessary infrastructure for economic development, important laws that encourage Public-Private Partnerships, as well as guarantees for investments and Fiscal Responsibility, were approved in our Government.
It is important, finally, to highlight the active role Paraguay is playing in international organizations, cooperating with development, environmental and peacekeeping objectives and respect for human rights.
Paraguay was the first country in Latin America to approve the Bali Protocol on Trade Facilitation, adopted within the framework of the World Trade Organization. Through MERCOSUR, Paraguay has maintained a firm position in favor of fulfilling the essential purposes of the Treaty. of Asunción, which are economic-commercial, as well as an active external relationship, with other countries or blocks of countries. The negotiation process between MERCOSUR and the Republic of KOREA Trade Agreement has begun, and during 2019 the second round of negotiations was held in Seoul, last April. This Trade Agreement would be an excellent platform in order to enhance the economic cooperation and strengthen business relation among companies of both sides.