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Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

Although it is a landlocked country, Paraguay is open to international trade, which represents 82% of the country’s GDP (World Bank, 2016). The Government’s economic policy aims to increase international trade in order to boost the economy and to develop competitive sectors, through low and uniform tariff protections. After being excluded from Mercosur due to President Fernando Lugo’s impeachment in 2012, Paraguay re-joined the group in 2013 after President Horacio Cartes was elected. In an attempt to diversify its economic partners, the country has also sought permanent membership to the Pacific Alliance trade bloc.

Customs duties are relatively low (with an average of 4.2%), but import tariffs remain a substantial source of income for the State. Although the country has few non-tariff trade barriers, the average MFN applied tariff rate remains higher for agricultural products. Restrictions on access to credit and high interest rates, as well as the high cost of transportation and telecommunication services, are major obstacles to the expansion of trade in the country.

While it has remained in surplus, Paraguay’s trade balance has decreased steadily since 2006. In 2016, the country’s trade balance was positive. In fact, according to the Central Bank of Paraguay,  the total level of imports amounted to USD 9.8 billion, compared to USD 11.1 billion of exports, for a total surplus of around USD 1.3 billion. Despite an increase in exports of beef and higher-added-value products, the depression in agricultural prices has led to a drop in export earnings, especially from soy products (Paraguay is the 4th larger soy producer in the world).

In 2016, the main exports were hydraulic electricity (25.1%), soy products (21.4%) and meat (13.6%), while the main imports were machinery, refined petroleum and cars.
Brazil, Argentina, Russia and Chile were the main destination for Paraguay’s exports. The main import origins were Brazil, China and Argentina.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20122013201420152016
Imports of Goods (million USD) 11,55512,14212,16910,2919,753
Exports of Goods (million USD) 7,2839,4569,6368,3618,494
Imports of Services (million USD) 9061,0481,0851,0711,093
Exports of Services (million USD) 667772824794965
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -475-4-1
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -7184-13
Trade Balance (million USD) 5011,583928521n/a
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 9994888482
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 4945434139
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 5050454242

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank - Latest available data.

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2016
Brazil 35.4%
Argentina 10.7%
Russia 7.6%
Chile 6.1%
Italy 3.5%
Turkey 2.5%
Uruguay 2.5%
Germany 2.3%
India 2.3%
Spain 2.1%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2016
China 27.1%
Brazil 24.2%
Argentina 14.7%
United States 7.2%
Japan 2.5%
Germany 2.3%
South Korea 2.1%
India 1.5%
Chile 1.4%
Mexico 1.4%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 

Main Products

8.5 bn USD of products exported in 2016
Electrical energy 25.1%
Soya beans, whether or not broken 21.4%
Oil-cake and other solid residues, whether or not ground or in the form of pellets, resulting from the extraction of soya-bean oil 10.0%
Meat of bovine animals, frozen 6.9%
Meat of bovine animals, fresh or chilled 6.1%
Soya-bean oil and its fractions, whether or not refined (excl. chemically modified) 5.4%
Maize or corn 4.0%
Rice 2.3%
Insulated incl. enamelled or anodised wire, cable incl. coaxial cable and other insulated electric conductors, whether or not fitted with connectors; optical fibre cables, made-up of individually sheathed fibres, whether or not assembled with electric conductors or fitted with connectors 1.8%
Wheat and meslin 1.7%
9.8 bn USD of products imported in 2016
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 11.2%
Transmission apparatus for radio-telephony, radio-telegraphy, radio-broadcasting or television, whether or not incorporating reception apparatus or sound recording or reproducing apparatus; television cameras; still image video cameras and other video camera recorders; digital cameras 5.5%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 4.3%
Insecticides, rodenticides, fungicides, herbicides, anti-sprouting products and plant-growth regulators, disinfectants and similar products, put up for retail sale or as preparations or articles, e.g. sulphur-treated bands, wicks and candles, and fly-papers 2.9%
Mineral or chemical fertilizers containing two or three of the fertilizing elements nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium; other fertilizers (excl. pure animal or vegetable fertilizers or mineral or chemical nitrogenous, phosphatic or potassic fertilizers); animal, vegetable, mineral or chemical fertilizers in tablets or similar forms or in packages of a gross weight of <= 10 kg 2.6%
Automatic data processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, n.e.s. 2.5%
Television receivers, whether or not incorporating radio-broadcast receivers or sound or video recording or reproducing apparatus; video monitors and video projectors 2.0%
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl. chassis with engine and cab 1.9%
Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy, incl. line telephone sets with cordless handsets and telecommunication apparatus for carrier-current line systems or for digital line systems; videophones; parts thereof 1.9%
New pneumatic tyres, of rubber 1.8%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 
 
 

Main Services

1.8 bn USD of services exported in 2014
Transportation
43.59%
Travel
32.34%
Government services
18.68%
Insurance services
2.36%
Communications services
1.68%
Financial services
1.05%
Other business services
0.30%
2.2 bn USD of services imported in 2014
Transportation
62.78%
Travel
22.94%
Financial services
4.34%
Insurance services
4.27%
Government services
2.69%
Royalties and license fees
1.62%
Other business services
0.81%
Communications services
0.36%
Computer and information services
0.19%

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

 
 

Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Main International Economic Cooperation
Member of Mercado Comun del Sur (MERCOSUR)

Member of Latin American Integration Association

Member of Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)

The country have signed a trade agreement with 21 other countries in the São Paulo Round of the Global System of Trade Preferences among Developing Countries (GSTP).

Useful Resources
Department of Customs (Spanish)
National Organisation of Intellectual Property
The Directorate of Industrial Property.
 
 
 

 

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Last Updates: September 2017