Opportunity: Maquila in Paraguay

In this last month, I was in Paraguay, at the invitation of a group of local entrepreneurs, motivated to divulge their maquiladora companies to Brazilian entrepreneurs.

For those who are not familiar with the term, the maquila industry has emerged in Mexico, benefiting entrepreneurs who until now adhere to the law, with little or no taxation on the importation of raw materials, provided that the production uses local labor and exports all or large part of the production. Paraguay and Mexico are not the only ones using this type of mechanism: countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia have developed using this same principle.

For us, Brazilians, accustomed to high import taxes and bureaucracy, to have uncomplicated and unpaid import would be unthinkable. It would be even more unthinkable if we could export these products, produced with cheap labor and imported raw materials, to richer countries without customs barriers. It seems utopian, but since Mexico joined NAFTA, it has free trade with Canada and the United States, and that is exactly how things work.

In another reason, but without prejudice to the motivations, Paraguay develops using the same Mexican maquila, in addition to its participation in Mercosur, which brings free trade with Brazil and other countries of the bloc.

This program has conquered not only the Paraguayan entrepreneurs, but especially the Argentineans and Brazilians, who have established themselves there.

In addition to maquiladora companies, I visited some business condominiums ready to receive foreign companies, with all necessary structure: real estate, energy and services needed (from gardener to accountant). The Federal Government is also accessible and not bureaucratized.

Not enough, Paraguay still has a stable exchange rate – one of the most stable in the world; cheap electricity – on behalf of Itaipu Binacional, which is also theirs and generates a surplus (Paraguayan) share, which is exported; already skilled labor for some segments and less biased labor legislation.

We have studied the viability of some Brazilian companies to transfer part of their operations to Paraguay: the results are motivating!

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