'A country of opportunity': Gustavo Leite, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Paraguay.

Position:Interview
 
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According to the Banco Central del Paraguay (BCP, the country's central bank), total foreign direct investment (FDI) in Paraguay exceeded US$4.4 billion at the end of 2015, almost three times the level 10 years before (US$1.6 billion at the end of 2006.) During 2014-2015 alone, net FDI flows increased by US$642 million, despite the global economic slowdown.

"We passed from being a country that had potential, but was tremendously unknown and even suspected of lack of seriousness, to a nation of great opportunity--one that has changed its image to the world and that today shines on the radar of investors. That makes local and international businessmen bet on Paraguay," said Gustavo Leite, Paraguay's Minister of Industry and Commerce.

The nation's attractiveness as a foreign investment destination had increased due to factors, such as sustained economic growth--among the highest in Latin America and the Caribbean--amid stability in all macroeconomic indicators. Paraguay grew more than any other Mercosur member during the last three years. "How is it possible that your neighbors are under the water and your house is not affected? It is because you did something right and you keep doing it," the minister stated.

KEY LEGISLATION BRINGS DYNAMISM TO INVESTMENT

Together with economic management and stability in its legal framework, the government of President Horacio Cartes adopted additional efforts to incentivize investment. This has been done through laws that provide fiscal incentives and improve transparency in the government's management and financial activities.

According to official data, Law 60 of 1990, which established a regime of fiscal incentives for domestic and international investments, caused total investment in the country to soar 66 percent higher during the August 2013 to August 2016 period, compared with the August 2008 to August 2011 period.

Government data shows that 42 percent of the new investment that has been approved under Law 60 of 1990 is of Paraguayan origin. "This is very good, because when national capital is not betting on its own country, the signals to foreign capital can be contradictory," the minister noted, as he underscored that "foreign investment is a key engine because it represents money and technology."

Meanwhile, other official statistics indicate that the investments approved for maquila projects increased almost seven times in August 2013-August 2016, compared with August 2008-August 2011, thanks to...

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