Paraguay seeks Indian technology and investments for diversifying its economy
Paraguay is looking to India for building up its infrastructure and solutions for diversifying the South American nation’s economy. The landlocked country is planning to give more tax incentives to Indian companies wanting to invest abroad. The only country in the world which has a transparency law regarding public information is looking to India for collaborations and ventures in various sectors including education, health, agriculture, renewable energy and machinery.
Talking to Financial Express Online at the end of Vice President Venkaiah Naidu ‘s visit to that country, ambassador of Paraguay to India, Fleming Raul Duarte Ramos says that, “We hope to partner with India on a diverse range of industries including natural resources, agriculture and education.”
Inviting Indian businesses to invest in his country, the envoy said that the country can be a gateway for the Indian companies for member countries of Pacific Alliance (Peru, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico) and MERCOSUR (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) which together make up for 80 % market in the region.
There has been a ten -fold increase in bilateral trade between the two countries over the last decade when it touched $ 334 million in 2017-18 from $ 40 million in 2008-09.
“We don’t say landlocked, we say we are land linked. Our population is young. There is a great need to find solutions to diversify our economy. India has a lot to offer to us both infrastructure and knowledge will add value,” he adds.
The government of Paraguay is pursuing policies such as Law 60/90, Maquila Regime, incentives for Forestry together with low tax benefits in an effort to attract investments to promote investment.
Education is an important area with its young population going out to study in Europe and the US and we are keen on looking for collaborate with Indian academic institutions and exchange programmes and training institutes which will give exposure to the youth, the envoy says.
Both countries have decided to seek new areas for cooperation including Hydel and solar power, health including traditional medicine, and pharmaceuticals, Information and Communication Technology which would open more opportunities for the youth in that country.
For its food security, contractual farming in that country is one of the options that India can explore. India has offered agricultural machinery that can help the farmers as well as new technologies that can help improve the food chain there. In the South American country, its Agriculture based economy – main focus on agribusiness and cattle ranching. And it is the 4th largest exporter of soya beans in the world.
As has been reported by Financial Express Online earlier, the Vice President had shared that India can not only help in capacity building, space sector but in the area of education too. He had also said that the South American nation could play a major role in India’s Food Security.
Talking about the largest hydroelectric power plant in the world in terms of output Itaipu hydroelectric dam on the Paraná River, bi-national undertaking run by Brazil and Paraguay, he says that sides can work together to develop small electric plants for clean energy.
The capital of the country Asuncion can also be an aviation hub as airports in the major cities in the region are full. The country is seeking investments for constructions of roads and transportation as that will help in not only good connectivity but also improving trade and movement of goods to countries in the region.
Says Ramos, “We are keen to promote exchanges between academics and universities and also between travel professionals and stakeholders in tourism. Paraguay welcomed the offer of India of capacity building through enhanced scholarships for higher education and its ITEC (Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation) program.
Main thrust now is on increasing production through foreign investments and has been granted free ports in Argentina, Uruguay & Brazil due to its geographical constraints of being landlocked. Ciudad del Este, the town on the border with Brazil and Argentina is an important business centre of for all three countries.
As is known New Delhi has already offered to set up a Centre of Excellence in Information Technology and has also offered scholarships under the ITEC programme.