Doing Business in Paraguay

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1 Doing Business in Paraguay Country Cost Elements Technical Unit for Industrial Studies UTEPI MINISTERIO DE INDUSTRIA Y COMERCIO Ministerio del Desarrollo United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

2 Doing Business in Paraguay: Country Cost Elements Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MIC) and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). Ministry of Industry and Commerce Avda. Mcal. López 3,333 and Dr. Wiss Tel.: ( ) ; ; Fax: ( ) Asunción, Paraguay Website: United Nations Industrial Development Organization Vienna International Centre, P.O. Box 300, A-1400 Tel.: (+43-1) ; Fax: (+43-1) Vienna, Austria Website: November 2007 Project manager: International consultant: National coordinator: National adviser: Researchers: Editing: Design and layout: Diana Hubbard (UNIDO) Manuel Albaladejo Aníbal Giménez Kullak (MIC) César Pastore Britos (MIC) Ángel Benítez Vera (MIC) Guido Brítez Gómez (MIC) Nathalia Rodríguez Romero (MIC) José Hidalgo, Roger Peniston-Bird Andrés Dávila The information contained in this report may be used provided that the source is cited as follows: UTEPI (2007). Doing Business in Paraguay: Country Cost Elements. Cooperation between the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the Industry Division of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. Asunción, Paraguay. Suggestions and comments: Technical Unit for Industrial Studies (UTEPI), ISBN: Copyright: ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. TOTAL OR PARTIAL REPRODUCTION WITHOUT DUE AUTHORIZATION IS PROHIBITED. THE DEPOSIT REQUIRED UNDER LAW 1328/98 HAS BEEN EFFECTED.

3 FOREWORD For Paraguay to find its place in an increasingly globalized and competitive world requires clear policies that will promote economic growth with emphasis on the industrial sector, that are oriented towards sustainable development and that will encourage the generation of better employment opportunities in order to improve the quality of life of the Paraguayan people. The business climate for the successful development of enterprises and for attracting new investment is improving, thanks, inter alia, to macroeconomic stability, legal conditions and the simplification of procedures for starting up new businesses. The result has been a steady increase in domestic and foreign investment in recent years. In the effective utilization of business opportunities, the availability of information plays a key role. In this context, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, through the Industry Division and the Investment and Exports Network, and in order to meet the needs of the business sector on an expanding basis, have produced this important analytical reference tool which it is placing at the disposal of the productive sector. The present document, Doing Business in Paraguay: Country Cost Elements 2007, is the fruit of a joint effort made by the public and private sectors, with technical and financial support from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), to collect, arrange and classify information concerning transactions and costs that needs to be taken into account when making decisions on investment in Paraguay. It is our hope that this report will serve as a useful reference guide for local and foreign investors, as well as helping to identify obstacles that still need to be removed if optimum conditions are to be ensured for Paraguay to become a destination for investment. Translated from Negocios en el Paraguay: Elementos del Costo País published in November 2007 iii

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5 CREDITS AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The report Doing Business in Paraguay: Country Cost Elements 2007 has been prepared within the framework of the first stage of the project of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization in Paraguay entitled Institutional Support and Capacity Building in Competitiveness Analysis (XP/PAR/06/001), within the Industry Division (SSEI) of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. This study aims to meet the needs of investors for information relevant to decision-making, particularly as concerns the costs of the necessary procedures. The work was carried out under the supervision of Aníbal Giménez Kullak, Deputy Minister for Industry and National Project Coordinator, and Diana Hubbard, Chief of the Commercial Analysis and Conformity Infrastructure Unit of UNIDO. Manuel Albaladejo, an international adviser, offered assistance and made available his valuable experience during the first stage of the work; César Pastore, Director-General for Industrial Policy, acted as national economic adviser. The team of professionals of the Technical Unit for Industrial Studies (UTEPI) were responsible for planning, organization, collection of data and the drafting of the report; the team consisted of Ángel Benítez (researcher), Guido Brítez (researcher) and Nathalia Rodríguez (coordinator). Thanks are expressed to all the UTEPI staff for the review and analysis of the various sections of the document. José Hidalgo (Corporation for Development Studies -CORDES-) was the editor of the original Spanish text; Roger Peniston-Bird edited the English translation, and Andrés Dávila (CORDES) was responsible for the graphics. More than 120 institutions in the public and private sectors cooperated in the preparation of the document, including: six government ministries and their departments concerned with matters relating to investors; the decentralized State agencies; the Central Bank of Paraguay, banks and financial institutions in the public and private sectors; private sector organizations and associations; and 13 municipalities, including the capital, Asunción, and the main cities of the interior of the country. We are deeply grateful to all these institutions, since the work would not have been possible without their cooperation. Thanks are also expressed to all institutions and individuals who contributed directly or indirectly to the preparation of this report. v

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7 TABLE OF CONTENTS Foreword Credits and acknowledgments Introduction iii v xv Abbreviations and acronyms xvii CHAPTER 1. Issues of interest to the investor General information about Paraguay Economic environment The Paraguayan industrial sector Domestic and foreign investment... 6 CHAPTER 2. Incorporation of companies Institutional relationship and regulatory framework Processes of incorporation, registration and monitoring Modernization and technological development Approval and registration through the Unified System for the Opening of Businesses Registration with the Directorate-General for Public Registers Immigrant visas Business licences Fees of notaries public Services, monitoring and auditing Environmental licences and certificates Industrial registration CHAPTER 3. Industrial land and property rental costs Industrial parks Technological Park Itaipú Taiwan Industrial Park Avay Industrial Park MERCOSUR Park Property taxes vii

8 CHAPTER 4. Employment and labour costs Legislation and labour institutions Minimum wages and statutory benefits Minimum monthly wages Sectoral tables Additional benefits Regulations on working hours Termination costs Social security contributions Labour market recruitment Public and other holidays CHAPTER 5. Communication services Legal and institutional framework Fixed telephony Mobile telephony Internet services Postal service CHAPTER 6. Electricity, drinking water and fuel costs Electricity sector and costs Legislation and institutions Electricity production and consumption Price systems Drinking water Cost of fuels CHAPTER 7. Other industry costs Fees for trademark, design and patent registration Fees for public services Membership in chambers of commerce and industry CHAPTER 8. Accreditation and certification agencies National Accreditation Agency National Institute of Technology and Standardization National Service for Animal Health and Quality National Service for Plant and Seed Quality and Health CHAPTER 9. Transportation services and infrastructure Road and land transport Rail transport viii

9 9.3. Maritime transport Storage facilities Air transportation Insurance services CHAPTER 10. Cost of living Costs for the rental of housing Domestic service Security services for dwellings Health insurance Education: School enrolment and tuition fees Rental of vehicles Vehicle insurance CHAPTER 11. Taxes Tax on income from commercial activities Tax on personal income Value added tax Excise tax Vehicle licence tax Other taxes Tax on documentsanddeeds Tax on agricultural income Other municipal taxes Agreements to avoid double taxation CHAPTER 12. Financial costs Reference interest rates CHAPTER 13. Foreign trade Export regime Overview Exports of soya and meat Certificate of origin Drawback Import regime Customs Foreign trade agreements CHAPTER 14. Incentives for investment and exports Law 60/ Maquiladora regime ix

10 14.3. National Regime for Motor Vehicles Regime for Imports of Raw Materials and Inputs Free trade zones Legislation consulted Bibliography TABLES Table 1: Manufactured exports per capita, Table 2: Types of companies... 9 Table 3: Registration of enterprises through the Unified System for the Opening of Businesses.. 11 Table 4: Requirements for the registration of commercial companies Table 5: Requirements for the registration of single-owner businesses and single-owner limited liability companies Table 6: Tariffs for immigration visas Table 7: Business licence charges Table 8: Fees of notaries public Table 9: Requirements for obtaining the Environmental Impact Statement Table 10: Additional environmental impact studies Table 11: Requirements for obtaining industrial registration Table 12: Minimum monthly wages Table 13: Sectoral tables Table 14: Additional benefits Table 15: Annual leave Table 16: Cost of night work and overtime Table 17: Termination costs Table 18: Social security contributions Table 19: Wages on the freely-contracted labour market Table 20: National public holidays and other holidays Table 21: Cost of and time needed for telephone line installation Table 22: Telephone charges by category Table 23: Cost of mobile phones Table 24: Mobile phone plans Table 25: Internet rates Table 26: Rates for regular national mail x

11 Table 27: Rates for airmail and the international Express Mail Service* Table 28: Development of electricity coverage in Paraguay Table 29: Costs for connection to the electricity grid Table 30: Electricity rates, low and medium voltage Table 31: Electricity rates, high and very high voltage Table 32: Electricity rates for electricity-intensive enterprises Table 33: Prices of electricity supply for residential consumers Table 34: Prices for electricity supply for industrial consumers Table 35: Connection charges Empresa de Servicios Sanitarios del Paraguay S.A Table 36: Drinking water rates Empresa de Servicios Sanitarios del Paraguay S.A Table 37: Drinking water rates sanitation boards and private companies (average) Table 38: Prices for fuels in the capital and the metropolitan area Table 39: Fees for trademarks Table 40: Fees for patents and utility models Table 41: Monthly charges for refuse collection Table 42: Monthly charge for public lighting Table 43: Fees for membership in chambers Table 44: Accreditations with the National Accreditation Agency Table 45: Procedures for exporting and importing products of plant origin Table 46: Basic characteristics of the road infrastructure Table 47: Fees at the toll stations managed by the Ministry of Public Works and Communications 50 Table 48: Tolls charged by Tape Porá Table 49: Land transport freight costs Table 50: Duty-free storage facilities granted to Paraguay Table 51: Cost of maritime shipping to major ports Table 52: Monthly storage costs Table 53: Incentives for imports at particular terminals Table 54: Port costs Table 55: Flight time between cities Table 56: Air fares Table 57: Air freight costs Table 58: Rates for insurance of international freight against all risks Table 59: Rental costs per month Table 60: Monthly wages for domestic service in Asunción Table 61: Monthly cost for security services Table 62: Monthly cost of health insurance plans xi

12 Table 63: School enrolment and tuition fees Table 64: Cost of rental of vehicles Table 65: Tax on personal income Table 66: Value added tax rates Table 67: Excise tax Table 68: Vehicle licence tax in Asunción Table 69: Vehicle licence tax in the interior of Paraguay Table 70: Other municipal taxes Table 71: Bilateral tax agreements Table 72: Reference annual interest rates Table 73: Credit options through the Development Finance Agency Table 74: Procedure for exporting soya using the Single Window for Exports Table 75: Process for exporting meat using the Single Window for Exports Table 76: Certificates of origin Table 77: Certificate of origin for wood products Table 78: Fees of customs clearance agents Table 79: Import regime Table 80: Other taxes and charges payable in customs Table 81: Foreign trade agreements DIAGRAMS Diagram 1: Population of Paraguay by age group, forecast for Diagram 2: Changes over time in the gross domestic product, Diagram 3: Structure of the Paraguayan economy in Diagram 4: Inflation and interest rates... 4 Diagram 5: Average monthly exchange rate... 4 Diagram 6: Outstanding external debt as a percentage of the gross domestic product... 5 Diagram 7: Domestic investment and net flows of foreign direct investment... 7 Diagram 8: Share of imports of hydrocarbons in the total imports of Paraguay Diagram 9: Changes over time in the number of passengers transported ( ) Diagram 10: Trends in investment under the incentives regime established by Law 60/ Diagram 11: Development of exports using the maquiladora regime Diagram 12: Trends in the production of motorcycles and bicycles xii

13 BOXES Box 1: Macroeconomic forecasts for Box 2: Goals, achievements and services of the Unified System for the Opening of Businesses.. 10 Box 3: Potential of the Paraguayan hydroelectric sector Box 4: Outlook for the fuels sector in Paraguay Box 5: Land transportation: outlook Box 6: Development Finance Agency Box 7: Investment and Exports Network xiii

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15 INTRODUCTION The availability of information, besides being an essential condition for successful decision-making, helps to minimize the costs of transactions and reduce the risk of errors in the operations of enterprises. The different processes involved in satisfying a particular procedural requirement are usually handled by a number of different institutions and departments, which generates a high bureaucratic cost. In order to simplify the requirements for investing in Paraguay, the Industry Division and the Investment and Exports Network, with the assistance of UNIDO, have prepared the present document, setting out the main economic and legal aspects that need to be known to and considered by potential investors and by those already established in the country. The preparation of the document has required consultations with the official institutions responsible for each procedure, surveys of enterprises offering different services and summaries of the laws and decrees relating to the business environment. An important advantage of the report is the up-to-date nature of the data and information given; the data was collected between June and November The tables showing the costs for the different procedures are expressed in both guaraníes and United States dollars; the exchange rate used represents the average for September 2007, namely 5,012 guaraníes to one dollar. The document is divided up in the following manner. Chapter 1 describes the main characteristics of the country, the culture, the economic environment, trends in investment flows and participation in world markets. Chapters 2 to 8 discuss aspects relating to the operation of enterprises: the procedures for starting up operations, the industrial areas available for establishing plants, labour costs, labour regulations, access to road communications and services that are offered to enterprises. Information is also given on the costs of basic services, such as electricity and water, and other industrial costs such as those for trademarks and registration, public services and membership in chambers of industry; the agencies responsible for the certification of products are also described. Chapters 9 to 14 detail other factors that affect enterprises, such as the road infrastructure, transport costs and living costs in the capital, the nearby towns and Paraguay's main cities. Another sphere that affects the capacity of a country to attract investment relates to taxes. The taxes levied on different economic activities are specified. Regarding the financial area, reference interest rates and the products offered on the Paraguayan financial market are indicated. Concerning foreign trade, the document includes a chapter describing export and import regimes. Lastly, a summary is given of the main incentives offered to enterprises under special regimes designed to promote and accentuate Paraguay's export profile. xv

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17 ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS ADSL AFD AFIDI ALADI ANDE ANNP BCP CAB CADELPA CAMP CAN CAPADI CAPECO c.i.f. CMC CNCSP CNIME CONACYT CONATEL COPACO S.A. CPI CTA DGCE DGEEC DGGC DGM DGPI DGRP DIGECIPOA DINAC Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line Development Finance Agency (Agencia Financiera de Desarrollo) Phytosanitary Import Accreditation (Acreditación Fitosanitaria de Importación) Latin American Integration Association (Asociación Latinoamericana de Integración) National Electricity Administration (Administración Nacional de Electricidad) National Authority for Navigation and Ports (Administración Nacional de Navegación y Puertos) Central Bank of Paraguay (Banco Central del Paraguay) Basic Environmental Questionnaire (Cuestionario Ambiental Básico) Cotton Chamber of Paraguay (Cámara Algodonera del Paraguay) Centre for Arbitration and Mediation of Paraguay(Centro de Arbitraje y Mediación del Paraguay) Andean Community (Comunidad Andina de Naciones) Paraguayan Internet Chamber (Cámara Paraguaya de Internet) Paraguayan Chamber for Cereals and Oilseeds (Cámara Paraguaya de Cereales y Oleaginosas) cost, insurance and freight Council of the Common Market National Chamber of Commerce and Services of Paraguay (Cámara Nacional de Comercio y Servicios de Paraguay) National Board of Maquiladora Industries for Export (Consejo Nacional de Industrias Maquiladoras de Exportación) National Council for Science and Technology (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología) National Telecommunications Commission (Comisión Nacional de Telecomunicaciones) Compañía Paraguaya de Comunicaciones S.A. Consumer Price Index Customs Procedure Centre (Centro de Trámites Aduaneros) Directorate-General for Foreign Trade (Dirección General de Comercio Exterior) Directorate-General for Statistics, Surveys and Censuses (Dirección General de Estadísticas, Encuestas y Censos) Directorate-General for Major Contributors (Dirección General de Grandes Contribuyentes) Directorate-General for Migration (Dirección General de Migraciones) Directorate-General for Intellectual Property (Dirección General de Propiedad Intelectual) Directorate-General for Public Registers (Dirección General de Registros Públicos) Directorate-General for the Quality and Harmlessness of Products of Animal Origin (Dirección General de Calidad e Inocuidad de productos de Origen Animal) National Directorate of Civil Aviation (Dirección Nacional de Aeronáutica Civil) xvii

18 DINATRAN DNA DRE EAP EMS EPH ERSSAN ESSAP FEPAMA f.o.b. FOCEM G GATT GDP GSM GSP ICT IDB IMF INTN IPS ISC ISIC ISO ITU kw-h MAG MCC MERCOSUR MH MIC MJyT MOPC MW-h ONA PETROPAR PROCAR PTI-MD National Transport Directorate (Dirección Nacional de Transporte) National Customs Directorate (Dirección Nacional de Aduanas) Directorate for Special Regimes (Dirección de Regímenes Especiales) economically active population Express Mail Service Permanent Survey of Households (Encuesta Permanente de Hogares) Regulatory Body for Public Health Services (Ente Regulador de Servicios Sanitarios) Empresa de Servicios Sanitarios del Paraguay S.A. Wood Industry Federation of Paraguay (Federación Paraguaya de Madereros) free on board Structural Convergence Fund of MERCOSUR(Fondo de Convergencia Estructural del MERCOSUR) guaranies General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade gross domestic product Global System for Mobile Communications Generalized System of Preferences information and communications technologies Inter-American Development Bank International Monetary Fund National Institute of Technology and Standardization (Instituto Nacional de Tecnología y Normalización) Social Security Institute (Instituto de Previsión Social) excise tax (Impuesto Selectivo al Consumo) International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities International Organization for Standardization International Telecommunication Union kilowatt-hour(s) Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería) Millennium Challenge Corporation Southern Common Market (Mercado Común del Sur) Ministry of Finance (Ministerio de Hacienda) Ministry of Industry and Commerce (Ministerio de Industria y Comercio) Ministry of Justice and Labour (Ministerio de Justicia y Trabajo) Ministry of Public Works and Communications (Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Comunicaciones) megawatt-hour(s) National Accreditation Agency (Organismo Nacional de Acreditación) Petróleos del Paraguay Property Register Programme (Programa de Catastro Registral) Technological Park Itaipú - Margen Derecha (Parque Tecnológico Itaipú - Margen Derecha) xviii

19 PYMES RAN REDIEX RUC RUE SEAM SENACSA SENAVE SET SNC SOFIA STP SUAE UIP UNDP UNESCO USAID UTEPI VAT VUE WTO ZFI small and medium enterprises (pequeñas y medianas empresas) National Regime for Motor Vehicles (Régimen Automotor Nacional) Investment and Exports Network (Red de Inversiones y Exportaciones) Single Taxpayers' Register (Registro Único de Contribuyentes) Single Register for the Exporter (Registro Único del Exportador) Secretariat of the Environment (Secretaría del Ambiente) National Service for Animal Health and Quality (Servicio Nacional de Calidad y Salud Animal) National Service for Plant and Seed Quality and Health (Servicio Nacional de Calidad y Sanidad Vegetal y de Semillas) Taxation Division (Sub Secretaria de Estado de Tributación) National Cadastre System (Sistema Nacional de Catastro) System for the Fiscal Organization of Customs Levies (Sistema de Ordenamiento Fiscal de Impuestos Aduaneros) Technical Secretariat for Planning (Secretaría Técnica de Planificación) Unified System for the Opening of Businesses (Sistema Unificado de Apertura de Empresas) Paraguayan Industrial Union (Unión Industrial Paraguaya) United Nations Development Programme United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization United States Agency for International Development Technical Unit for Industrial Studies (Unidad Técnica de Estudios para la Industria) value added tax Single Window for Exports (Ventanilla Única de Exportación) World Trade Organization International Free Trade Zone (Zona Franca Internacional) xix

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21 CHAPTER1 Issues of interest to the investor The Paraguayan economy has shown positive results in the last four years and the prospects for 2007 are encouraging. This constitutes a favourable setting for attracting investment and for successful business activities. This first chapter presents Paraguay s main characteristics and its macroeconomic indicators, obtained from the official institutions responsible for preparing them General information about Paraguay Paraguay is situated in South America, sharing borders with Brazil, Bolivia and Argentina and having an area of 406,752 km 2. The river Paraguay dividesthe countryinto tworegions: the Eastern and Western Regions. Paraguay is blessed with abundant water resources, as it forms part of the Guaraní Aquiferous System, considered the largest freshwater reserve in the world. In addition, the numerous rivers that traverse the country make its soil very suitable for the cultivation of various products, some of them exportable, such as soya, cotton, etc. The copious waters of the river Paraná provide the country with abundant hydroelectric energy, produced at the binational Itaipú and Yacyreta power stations and at the national Acaray plant. Paraguay has various sites of natural and historical interest, such as the Jesuit ruins of Jesús and Trinidad, declared world heritage sites in 1993 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The hydroelectric dams, the numerous national parks, ranch tourism and many other attractions bring large numbers of tourists to the country every year. Paraguay is a nation with an identity of its own, having two official languages, Spanish and Guarani, and its customs are deeply rooted in the population, the majority of whom are young, as is shown in diagram 1. There is consequently abundant labour available in Paraguay. GENERAL INFORMATION OF PARAGUAY Location: South America (shares borders with Brazil, BoliviaandArgentina) Capital: Asunción Area: 406,752 km 2 Population:* 6,119,642 Official languages: Spanish and Guarani Currency: Guaraní Gross domestic product(gdp) percapita, 2007forecast(currentUSDollars)** 1,858 * Forecast for 2007 by the Directorate-General for Statistics, Surveys and Censuses (DGEEC). ** Forecast by the Ministry of Finance (MH). 1

22 Doing Business in Paraguay: Country Cost Elements Diagram 1: Population of Paraguay by age group, forecast for Age group , , , , , , , ,000 Population Source: Technical Secretariat for Planning (STP)/Directorate-General for Statistics, Surveys and Censuses Economic environment 1 According to official forecasts, economic growth in Paraguay for 2007 will be 4.5%. If this prediction proves correct, it will be the fifth consecutive year with positive results, encouraging a climate of optimism and economic stability. These results are supported by the dynamic nature of domestic demand, which is the result of the increase in investment and in levels of public and private consumption, and also by growing external demand, which has led to an increase in Paraguayan meat exports. Diagram 2: Changes over time in the gross domestic product, Percentage variation (constant 1994 dollars) * 2007** -1 * Preliminary figures. ** Forecasts. Source: Central Bank of Paraguay (BCP). 1 The data were taken from official statistics of the Central Bank of Paraguay. 2

23 Chapter 1. Issues of interest to the investor In constant terms, the GDP of Paraguay increased from USUS$8,228 million in 2005 to USUS$8,560 million in 2006, the most dynamic sectors being animal production, services and manufacturing industries. In 2004, the rate of real growth of GDP was 4.1%, the highest since This was a consequence of the recovery of important meat markets and the good performance of the crop-farming sector, supported by the increase in international prices. As can be seen from diagram 3, the sectors with the highest shares in the economy of Paraguay are commerce, crop production, government services and animal production. Diagram 3: Structure of the Paraguayan economy in 2006 COM Commerce ERCIO AGRICULTURA Crop production SERVCIOSGUBERNAM Government ENTALES services Animal GANADERIA production OTROS Others SERVICIOSA Services HOGARES for homes TRANSPORTES Transport COM UNICACIONES Communications CONSTRUCCION Construction PRODUCCION Meat DECARNE production SERVICIOSA Services LASEM for enterprises PRESAS TEXTILESYPRENDASDEVESTIR Textiles and clothing INTERM EDIACION Financial FINANCIERA brokerage BEBIDASYTABACO Beverages and tobacco FORESTAL Forestry ALQUILER LettingD and E VIVIENDA dwellings ELECTRICIDAD Electricity and YAGUA water RESTAURANTESYHOTELES Restaurants and hotels FAB.DEPRODUCTOSNO Manuf. Non metallic M ETALICOS products Share in GDP (%) Source: BCP. It may be said that the positive growth of the Paraguayan economy in recent years has been due to the good performance of the services (mainly telecommunications), animal production and manufacturing sectors. In addition, crop production has benefited from the increase in international prices and favourable climatic factors. Inflation, for its part, fell from 14.6% in 2002 to 2.8% in In 2005 and 2006, however, inflation increased again, reaching 9.9% and 12.5% respectively. According to the preliminary economic report for 2006 of the Central Bank of Paraguay, inflation has resulted primarily from the increases recorded in the volatile items of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) basket, which have been affected by a commercial policy seeking to encourage local production in order to bring about self-sufficiency in the short and medium term. In October 2007, cumulative inflation reached 7%, mainly as a result of trends in the prices of foodstuffs, affected by external factors including, inter alia, the costs of agricultural inputs. Based on a weighted average of private banks, the real active interest rate for loans in foreign currency decreased from 9.94% in 2002 to 8.29% in September 2007; for loans in national currency, the rate fell from 34.22% in 2002 to 18.44% in September 2007, representing a significant decrease. This trend may be due to various factors such as the lowering of interest rates worldwide, the appearance of alternative credit possibilities and greater liquidity in the market. 3

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