ISSN 2330-717X

Paraguay And Indonesia: New Possibilities For Closer Cooperation – OpEd


On November 29, 2014, Paraguay will celebrate the 33rd anniversary of its establishment of diplomatic relations with the Republic of Indonesia, the world’s fourth-largest nation with over 250 million people. Indonesia is one of the Next Eleven (N-11) Economies, and together with Paraguay, is also a member of the Group of Eleven (G11), whose efforts are focused towards reducing poverty. Both nations became members of the World Trade Organization in 1995.

Because there is great potential to strengthen the commercial, political and economic partnership between the two countries—and due to the deep interest of President Horacio Cartes and his Indonesian counterparts in strengthening the bilateral partnership—the two foreign ministries should take further action to discuss mutually beneficial issues such as bilateral trade, economic growth and cooperation in the industrial and logistical sectors.

In 2012, Paraguay exported more than $19.5 million in goods and services to Indonesia, and there was a significant increase of such imports in 2013, reaching over $121.8 million worth of goods and services.  Yet despite the strategic importance of pursuing a Free Trade Agreement between Indonesia and Paraguay, Paraguay  is still not a member of the Pacific Alliance, although it is an observer state.

Paraguay could significantly enhance its cooperation with Indonesia in both the agricultural and energy sectors.  There is great potential for Indonesia to import a highly quality beef, soybean oil, organic sugar and organic rice from Paraguay.  Last year, Paraguay exported more than $1.33 billion in meat products and could become the world’s fifth-highest exporter of beef by 2018.

One of the traditional food products in Indonesia is tempeh, a soybean-based food made from the condensing or curdling of soymilk and then fermenting it.  This requires a need for large quantities of soybean. As the world’s fourth-largest soybean producer, Paraguay could easily become Indonesia’s “tempeh partner” through a bilateral cooperation agreement, and establish potential joint ventures with Indonesian partners.

The discovery of natural gas and oil fields in the Chaco in Paraguay is also another strategic sector for potential collaboration. Paraguay could benefit from the expertise and assistance of Indonesia’s major oil companies and Indonesian technology to make the use of its oil resources and to fulfill environmental standards.

In the near future, Asunción will need to diversify its national energy production based on other renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar panels. In this area, the help of Indonesian experts would be of great value for Paraguay’s sustainable future.

Both countries should sit down at the negotiating table to share their experiences in the renewable energy sector as well as for further strengthen cooperation in the food and industrial sectors. Energy and food industry cooperation between both nations would be even more beneficial for Paraguay, since it is a landlocked country and its food exports are in high demand in Indonesia and other countries.

Peter Tase

Peter Tase

Peter Tase is a contributor, freelance journalist and a research scholar of Paraguayan Studies and Latin American Affairs in the United States; he is the founder of Paraguay Economic Forum in Milwaukee, United States. Educated at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and Marquette University, Tase is the author of "Simultaneous Dictionary in Five Languages: Guarani, English, Italian, Albanian and Spanish" and "El Dr. FEDERICO FRANCO y Su Mandato Presidencial en la Historia del Paraguay." Tase has written many articles on Paraguay's current Foreign Policy, Latin American Affairs and MERCOSUR regional trade issues for Eurasia Review and the Council on Hemispheric Affairs in Washington, D.C.. Peter has appeared on SNT Cerro Cora, Asuncion and appeared in “Tribuna Pública” in TV Publica Paraguay, as well as given interviews for Diario 5 Dias in Paraguay, ABC Color, Ultima Hora, IP Paraguay, Revista PLUS+, Radio Ñandutí, Radio Nacional del Paraguay, and Spero News. Tase completed a Congressional Internship in the Office of Congressman Richard Pombo (CA-11), U.S. House of Representatives, and studied U.S. Government and International Affairs at the Les Aspin Center for Government in Washington, D.C.. In 2012 he was an adviser of Foreign Affairs and International trade Issues to the Chairman of the Committee on Trade, Tourism and Industry in the National Congress of Paraguay. Peter Tase is fluent in Guarani, Italian, Spanish, Albanian and mainly writes in English and Spanish.

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