Think “Brazil” and a host of enticing images are conjured up. Whether they’re the beaches of Rio or the investment prospects offered by its pre-salt layer depends on who you are, but the country is an easy sell. Although Latin America’s largest economy might be something of a different animal to Paraguay, one of the region’s poorest countries, this is the kind of convincing case that Paraguayan law firms aspire to emulate when they present their country to investors. After years of notoriety as one of Latin America’s least developed countries, dogged by decades of dictatorship, Paraguay’s lawyers want the world to know the country is open for business.
The country recently held presidential elections, and the new president-elect, Horacio Cartes, is a successful former businessman who has come to power on the back of a campaign touting centre-right policies focused on boosting Paraguay’s infrastructure and introducing the legal frameworks required to lure foreign investment and tap into growing international demand for agricultural exports. Although Cartes has been eyed with some suspicion by his critics for previous accusations of fraud and drug trafficking, lack of political experience and social conservatism, he is broadly welcomed by corporate lawyers. “If Cartes is able to convey a positive image for investors, respect for the rule of law and protection for investors, a lot of work should be coming our way,” says Ferrere partner Néstor Loizaga.