Officials and exporters in Asunción continue to object to Argentina's announcement that shipments through the Paraná River Waterway will have to pay a toll, which would generate an extra cost of 7%.
Paraguay has no seashore and depends on the waterway for its foreign trade, which would now be affected by Resolution 625/2022 from Argentina's Transport Ministry
Paraguayan shippers believe that if there is no agreement there are other instances that could be resorted to later to have the measure repealed.
Minister Alexis Guerrera's decision sparked a diplomatic conflict after a toll of US$1.47 per ton is to be charged between the Port of Santa Fe and the Confluence of the Paraná River, a 1,200-kilometer stretch, where most Paraguayan barges carrying soybeans bring their cargo to the port terminals in the Rosario area.
The measure would mean payments of up to US$ 40 million to Paraguayan entrepreneurs, who argue that in that stretch there is a natural draft of the river and no toll can be charged for a service that is not being effectively provided.
We are going to defend Paraguay's position. I believe that what the region needs is greater competitiveness and this makes us lose strength as a region, President Mario Abdo Benítez said.
Paraguay's Foreign Ministry stated both parties agreed to continue the process of dialogue and exchange of technical information on the matter in future meetings.
Private sectors in Paraguay have likened this toll to Argentina's export tax, which does not exist in their country, and insisted it would have an impact on the operating costs and the competitiveness of commercial river navigation, affecting Paraguayan foreign trade as well as that from other countries using the Waterway.
A public hearing is to be held in Argentina on Nov. 17, regarding this matter.
We understand that for now [the toll] will not be charged, but we will continue monitoring and talking at a technical level, said Paraguay's Vice Minister of Economic Relations and Integration Enrique Franco.