Paraguay asked the Argentine authorities this Friday to suspend the application of a toll on a section of the Paraguay-Paraná waterway that will come into force this Sunday, January 1.
In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs referred to a resolution of the Ministry of Transportation of Argentina (1023/2022), which establishes a rate of 1.47 dollars per ton for international transport and cabotage in the Puerto de Santa Fe-Confluencia section of the waterway.
“The arguments expressed by the Paraguayan counterpart are still valid,” indicated the note from the Foreign Ministry, ratifying the rejection.
In addition, he indicated that he has been invited “to the national sectors involved” to a meeting next Monday, to evaluate “Additional courses of action to be defined.”
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On October 20, Paraguay requested that this measure be suspended for a period of 180 days, waiting for the signatory countries of the Fluvial Transport Agreement for the Paraguay-Paraná Waterway to determine, “in the competent technical body, the scope of the provision.”
The Paraguayan authorities argued at the time in a statement that the toll “It would have a direct impact on the operating costs of self-propelled boats and Paraguayan-flagged convoys that transport cargo.”
The affectation -added the text- “It is significantly aggravated in the case of Paraguay’s foreign trade due to its status as a landlocked country in a context of post-pandemic economic recovery.”
Also last October, the President of the Republic, Mario Abdo Benítez, spoke on this issue and indicated that the establishment of a toll is not in line with the aspiration of the Mercosur countries to have a common strategy to be more competitive.
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The toll would affect the section of the Paraná River between the Port of Santa Fe (kilometer 590 of the waterway) and the confluence with the Paraguay River (kilometer 1240).
The waterway is an important river corridor for Paraguay and its neighbors. In the case of Bolivia and Paraguay, which do not have access to the sea, this artery connects them with the Atlantic Ocean.