Teresa Almadanim, businesswoman and university professor was challenged in 2018 by the Paraguayan Ambassador in Portugal – Maria José Argaña – to chair the Paraguay-Portugal Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIPP), currently the project of her life. We asked the President of CCIPP for a brief description of this country and the reasons why Portuguese businessmen should choose such consider this destination for their investments.
Paraguay: rational and emotional
After a visit to South America, four years ago, the current President of the CCIPP fell in love with Paraguay, a country that is relatively unknown to the Portuguese. The country borders Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia, has just over 7 million inhabitants, is an example of political stability, has a huge potential for economic development and offers a world of opportunities for the Portuguese business community. The creation of the Paraguay-Portugal Chamber of Commerce and Industry, with the mission of boosting the economic exchange between the two countries was, therefore a must-needed first step.
Since then, CCIPP’s has had an ongoing presence in Paraguay, promoting trips by Portuguese businessmen to the country once or twice a month whose end-result has been an unstoppable dynamic and the opening of a number of Portuguese companies in Paraguay. From this work, two practical results emerge that should be highlighted: the potential to create more than 300 jobs and cooperation that has led to the development of assorted industrial facilities. Only the pandemic slowed down this flow of collaboration and investment, which Teresa Almadanim is committed to resume when the right conditions are there.
As she told us: “Paraguay is a country of huge opportunities for Portuguese businesspeople, given its excellent quality of life and security standards or for being economically stable (making the country an excellent investment destination). The abundance of natural resources and energy, combined with a young population, along with the fact that the country is the most competitive and appealing fiscal region in Mercosur create the right conditions to develop assorted businesses with a quick return on investment”.
Paraguay’s attractiveness for Portuguese investors is based on a number of strategic pillars for the country’s development:
1. The tax system stands out for being highly favourable to investment, thus making Paraguay the most appealing destination in South America as this country has the lightest tax burden in the region;
2. The Maquila Law, which makes Paraguay the main gateway to Mercosur. Companies incorporated under the Maquila Law can enjoy important benefits: i) exemption from taxation in the production process; ii) exemption from tax on the export of products and goods; iii) VAT recovery in the purchase of goods or services; iv) exemption from fees on remittance of dividends abroad; and v) import of machinery and raw materials without fiscal taxation;
Teresa Almadanim, president of Paraguay-Portugal Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIPP)
3. Incentives for the qualification and employability of a large group of young people, which translates into opportunities for Portuguese education and training institutions;
4. Electricity in abundance, from renewable sources and at low cost, thus rendering the productive process very competitive;
5. Young and abundant workforce, making it easy to gather human resources for potential employers.
As one of the world’s largest exporters of soy and meat, with a large production and expansion capacity, Paraguay is thus also a potential preferred supplier for the Portuguese business fabric. The production of stevia (one of the best in the world) is also one of the country’s appealing factors as this is a product with huge growth potential and which may be purchased under strongly appealing conditions.
“The role of the Chamber of Commerce is thus to create business opportunities for entrepreneurs from both countries, enabling nor only job creation but also qualification of many young Paraguayans who may take advantage of Portugal’s experience in some strategic sectors, such as tourism”, Teresa Almadanim added.
Portugal has been a case study in the tourism sector for the past 15 years and Paraguay may become a partner with huge development potential, attracting direct investment from Portuguese entrepreneurs who can put their huge experience to good service and become rightful levers in the development of this promising cluster of the Paraguayan economy.
The projects under development with Portuguese companies cover a myriad of sectors such as textile, real estate, tourism, metal industry, wine, building and construction and basic sanitation, but include also professional qualification, university education and executive training.
Know Paraguay! This is the challenge launched by the President of the CCIPP. Know Paraguay, a country of opportunities, and undoubtedly a project for the future!