Paraguay’s industry is small-scale. The manufacturing industry is primarily focused on the processing of agricultural products. The industry, including the construction sector, employs around one fifth of the workforce.
Among the agricultural products that are processed are soy, meat, cotton, sugar and timber. There are also cement, textile and beverage industries for the domestic market, as well as a couple of steel mills.
Otherwise, most consumer goods are imported, or smuggled in from neighboring countries.
The membership of Mercosur has benefited Paraguay’s export opportunities but at the same time exposed the domestic industry to competition from imports from Argentina and Brazil.
A relatively new phenomenon is free trade zones, where Brazilian companies in particular are attracted by low taxes and cheap labor and energy. Ciudad del Este, the country’s second largest city, has in a short time become a center for assembly plants in South America.
- COUNTRYAAH: List of top trading partners of Paraguay. Includes countries that imported most shipments from and exported most goods to the country.
Ex-mayor convicted of journalist murder
Former Mayor Vilmar Acosta is sentenced to 29 years in prison and 10 years in prison for involvement in the murder of a journalist and his partner (see October 2014). Acosta, who belongs to the ruling Colorado Party, fled to Brazil after the murders but was arrested there in March 2015 and eventually extradited. The murders must have been carried out by a brother and a nephew to Acosta.
Primary elections before the presidential election
The ruling Colorado Party appoints Senator Mario Abdo Benítez as its candidate in the April 2018 presidential election. Abdo is the son of former dictator Stroessner’s private secretary and associated with the party’s traditional, conservative values. The election of Abdo represents a setback for President Cartes, who advocated former Finance Minister Santiago Peña as his successor. The largest opposition party PLRA (The True Liberal Radical Party) appoints Efraín Alegre as its presidential candidate by a wide margin. Alegre was Carte’s main opponent in the 2013 election. PLRA has formed an alliance with the Guasú front before the election.
Football manager should be expelled to the United States
A judge gives the go-ahead to expel the former head of the Conmebol South American Football Association, Nicolás Leoz, to the United States. Leoz is one of the main suspects in the huge bribery and money laundering scandal within Fifa that is being investigated by the US Department of Justice (see June 2015). The now 89-year-old Leoz was Conmebol manager for 27 years. He is currently under house arrest in Asuncion.
The president does not stand for re-election
President Cartes announces that he has given up the idea of running for the 2018 election, following the violent protests that erupted when his allies in Congress tried to allow a reelection (see March 2017).
The minister and police chief dismissed
President Cartes kicks Minister of the Interior Tado Rojas and National Police Chief Crispulo Sotelo after the violence in the congressional building the day before. But he blames the violence on non-democratic forces. The law passed by the Senate would also have been dealt with in the Chamber of Deputies, but the vote has now been postponed.
Violent protest against constitutional change
Violent protests erupt in protest against a law that the Senate just voted for and that would allow the president to be re-elected. The opposition believes that the “coup” opens the way for the dictatorship’s return. Protesters storm the congress in Asuncion and set fire to the building. Many are injured and an activist belonging to the Liberal Party PLRA is shot dead by police. Opponents of the constitutional amendment also include many members of the ruling Colorado Party.
Opposition accuses senators of “coup”
Opposition leaders claim that 25 senators who in an unofficial session changed the rules for the Senate’s vote conducted a “parliamentary coup”. They argue that the purpose of the amendment is to push through a change in law that will allow President Cartes to stand for re-election, something that would otherwise prevent the Constitution.