ASUNCION – President Horacio Cartes inaugurated on Monday the 3rd Paraguay-European Union Investment Forum, a gathering of hundreds of business leaders to discuss ways to attract more foreign investment to the landlocked South American nation.
The opening ceremony included remarks from the EU representative to Paraguay, Alessandro Palmero, who pointed out that Europe is the principal source of foreign direct investment in Latin America, to the tune of roughly 500 billion euros ($537 billion) a year.
The Paraguayan minister of Industry and Trade, Gustavo Leite, touted a “new Paraguay” that is open to investment, offering greater transparency, less red tape, and a re-orientation of government spending.
Paraguay, Leite said, is on the verge of becoming a global exporter of high-value-added agricultural goods.
He also said his country is ideally placed to serve as a link become Pacific and Atlantic trade, while acknowledging the need for a lot of improvements to make that scenario a reality.
“A lot needs to be done, at least $1 billion a year on infrastructure for the next 25 years. But we have taken a big step, we have assumed our responsibility and I believe that we have proven that what we propose is logical because it is effective and efficient. This is taking place with profits for companies,” Leite said.
The first Paraguay-EU Investment Forum was held in October 2014, following a visit to Asuncion by the then-vice president of the European Commission, Antonio Tajani.