The Ambassador of Paraguay His Excellency Mr. Fleming Raul Duarte visited the Cochin Chamber on the 26th of November 2018. He was accompanied by Honorary Consul of Paraguay, in Chennai Mr. M. Balasubramanian. On this occasion, the Chamber organized an interactive session with the Ambassador to understand and explore the business opportunities between India and Paraguay. Spices, Tea, Seafood and IT were some of the fields of interest. The Session was held between 3:30 pm and 4:30 pm and was attended by CEOs and representatives from various organizations across various industries.
The Session commenced with a Welcome by Mr. V. Venugopal, President of the Cochin Chamber. He said that His Excellency Fleming Raul Duarte’s expertise in Economics reminded him of India’s former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh who is one of the most renowned economists in the country. Before his talk, the Ambassador of Paraguay took the audience through a Powerpoint presentation which outlined his country’s vision for its people, its business and economic perspectives, domestic and foreign policies and growth rate. Following the presentation, Mr. Fleming explained in detail the opportunities awaiting foreign investors in Paraguay. He said that Paraguay is open to accommodating foreign nationals as the country is home to many immigrants from Italy, Korea, and Japan. Some of the objectives of the country are poverty reduction and social development, economic and industrial growth and also promoting infrastructure. He added that his country can become a hub of transport services with easy air connectivity to significant destinations like Brazil and Argentina.
The Ambassador pointed out that Paraguay is expected to be the country with the highest growth rate with a recorded GDP growth rate of 4.2% in 2017. Coming to trade and logistics, he said that most of the country’s export and import operations use rivers as means of transport and accounts for around 55.6% as it is the cheapest mode of transport for Paraguay and its neighbouring nations like Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. The main export destinations of Paraguay are Poland, Mexico, China, Brazil, Argentina and India.The Ambassador also threw light on the huge potential that his country has in the field of Agriculture and listed out that Grains, Meat, Leather, Straw, Fodder, Animal Feeds, conventional and non-conventional vegetable and Animal oils as being the products that are produced on a massive scale. Potential sectors for investment in Paraguay are the Food Industry, Automobile, Logistics, Real Estate, Leather and Footwear and Agriculture. Moreover, nature tourism that comprises adventure tourism like rappelling, diving quarries, biking and boating are a few attractions considered a big draw for the people who visit Paraguay. With a very fertile land and similar climatic conditions to Kerala, His Excellency Mr. Fleming Raul encouraged farmers from here to explore opportunities in agriculture in Paraguay. In this context he mentioned that Indian companies like Amul and Mahindra have expressed their interest in investing in Paraguay. He said that Paraguay was looking to benefit from India’s expertise in the fields of IT, Medicine and Pharmaceuticals. The session was open to questions from the audience at the end of his speech during which topics like labour cost, and general tourism in Paraguay were discussed.
The President of the Chamber presented the Ambassador of Paraguay and the Honorary Consul of Paraguay in Chennai with mementos.
The Session came to a close with a Vote of Thanks delivered by Mr. S.P Kamath, Executive Committee Member of the Chamber.