Do you want to start as an importer in Paraguay? Know what you must do to succeed
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In a decade, many countries have simplified bureaucratic procedures and adopted standardized standards for customs, port, etc.
This has made the work of international freight operators easier, faster and safer, as well as reducing costs for all parties involved in the loading of merchandise.
In the last 15 years Paraguay, like some Latin American countries such as Chile, Peru, Mexico and Brazil, has had an accelerated growth in its international trade.
Thousands of tons of products of all types and origin enter and leave the Paraguayan ports every year.
According to figures published by the Central Bank of Paraguay (BCP) in its Foreign Trade Report of December 2018, during that year goods for US $ 13,821.6 million were exported.
This represented a 3.2% increase compared to 2017 exports, which were US $ 13,396.4 million.
Of this figure, the BCP discriminated that 65.4% corresponded to registered exports (US $ 9,045.0 million) and 23.5% to re-exports (US $ 3,250.8 million).
The figure is closed 11.1% corresponding to unregistered exports worth US $ 1,525.8 million.
Meanwhile, total imports of Paraguay in 2018 reached US $ 12,917.5 million. This represented an increase of 12.1% compared to 2017.
96.3% of this total corresponded to registered imports (US $ 12,433.9 million) and the remaining 3.7% to other imports, whose value was US $ 483.6 million.
Paraguay’s main export products are beef and cereals.
The destination countries of these sales are, in order of volume: Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Russia and Italy.
It is noteworthy that recently the trade towards Turkey has grown.
Regarding imports, Paraguay buys mainly petrochemical and plastic products, electronic devices, vehicles and industrial machinery abroad.
The main suppliers of our country, according to merchandise volume, are China, Brazil, Argentina, United States and Chile.
In Paraguay, imports not only cover the basic needs of the population, but also underpin the development of the national industry and infrastructure.
Simply put, in Paraguay there are adequate conditions for the success of those who wish to become importers.
If this is your intention, you can do it without having a large company and a lot of capital.
But you must be prudent, disciplined and plan your business very well. We will give you some tips that can help you in your venture.
Market research, key to the importer’s success in Paraguay
If you want to specialize in the importation of a certain product, you must investigate very well the demand that it would have in Paraguay.
It is not enough to see the current demand, which can be very good circumstantially, but the expected demand in the medium and long term.
This will help you decide if your resources should be invested in a certain import and if the return will cover your initial investment.
In addition, you must investigate the products imported by the competition, at the level of prices, variety and quality.
It is also important to know the offer of similar products made in Paraguay and if their price and quality are better than those you plan to import.
One factor that some neglect to start as importers is the issue of import costs and distribution of merchandise in the Paraguayan territory.
The profitability you get will be greatly affected by these factors, so be careful and study these costs well.
Find out about the rules and requirements to import in Paraguay
Research the legal and technical requirements for the product you want to import.
In addition to the common requirements for any import of goods, some types of merchandise may require special permits or pay additional fees.
Others will need special storage and handling conditions, which can increase your costs.
Some special handling goods are chemical substances for industrial use, perishable foods, pharmaceutical products and petroleum products.
Having the documentation of your cargo in order is essential to avoid customs problems.
As a rule, you will need to have on hand the commercial invoice that guarantees your ownership of the merchandise you are importing to Paraguay.
You should also have additional documents such as the packing list of the cargo, its certificate of origin and the documents related to the shipment.
Choose your provider well
Select a good supplier that guarantees you enough merchandise and at the right price for your import project.
Never choose the first provider you know or that other people recommend. Research the market very well until you find the best possible supplier.
It must guarantee that you will receive the goods in the agreed time and at the agreed price. Otherwise, you will look bad with your customers and lose money.
Use the internet to find out about the suppliers that work in the countries where you want to import products to Paraguay.
There are discussion forums and electronic foreign trade guides where very valuable data is published for your search.
You can also find information, news and statistics published by official organizations and private associations related to international trade.
Avoid suppliers of doubtful origin, who do not have an office or a formal headquarters, as well as those who have very little time or experience in international trade.
Many product manufacturers also have offices dedicated to wholesale marketing, inside and outside their country.
Doing business with the manufacturer can guarantee you better delivery times and lower prices for the products you want to import.
However, the most common is that suppliers are wholesalers who move large volumes of a product between the factory and external markets.
The most powerful suppliers usually carry large shipments of goods to countries that act as international collection centers for each area of the planet.
For example, you might want to import televisions from a brand made in China to Paraguay.
There are several wholesalers who bring large quantities of these televisions to intermediate deposits in countries such as Mexico, Panama or Brazil.
From there they will be distributed to the rest of Latin America through minor importers, contracts with chain stores or even contracts with official entities.
The criticism or praise that the provider has in the internet forums are a valuable source to know if you can do business with him without major dangers.
Choose the best payment method for the merchandise you will bring to Paraguay
It is a maxim in international trade that the payment method is as important as the price agreed with the supplier.
Check well the prices that your provider asks you to pay and compare them with other wholesalers. Do not hesitate to demand a preferential price by volume.
You should try to accept only internationally accepted payment mechanisms, such as transfers and the letter of credit.
The letter of credit is widely used because it ensures compliance with the conditions agreed between both parties.
If your provider prefers payment by transfer, you should know that they will usually ask you for a 50% first payment to start manufacturing the products and the rest at the time of delivery.
Whatever the price and volume of the purchase you make, you will always be required to pay in advance for it.
For this reason, you should have the financing ready to cover the purchase of your import, either through own resources or credits from a public or private institution.
The cost of freight will affect the final price of the products you are going to import into Paraguay for better or worse.
You should study whether it is convenient for you to directly hire international freight services or do it through a specialized company.
Seek the advice of experts in international logistics
The best advice for those who start as importers in Paraguay is to have the advice of experts in the field of logistics and international trade.
These experts can clarify your doubts about the viability of your import project, legal regulations, taxes and other details of an international trade operation.
In Paraguay there are excellent companies dedicated to international logistics, which can give you advice if you need it.
One of these Paraguayan companies is Alfa Trading S.A. where we have more than 25 years working in international logistics services.
We can help you prepare your import or export activities, with the lowest cost and maximum operational efficiency.
The international logistics services provided by Alfa Trading S.A. They include everything related to customs clearance and maritime, air and land transport.
We also take care of the tracking and verification of delivery of your products at your destination.
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