Paraguay-Parana waterway agreement: Argentina’s decision to collect tolls on the Parana River has angered Paraguay. Beginning immediately, Argentina will charge a fee of US$1.47 per ton of net registration for international vessels carrying Paraguayan cargo. The toll will be collected at the Santa Fe-Confluencia section of the waterway.
Paraguay-Parana waterway agreement: Argentina angers Paraguay
This issue is particularly significant for Paraguay because the toll will add an extra cost of US$55 million to the country’s foreign trade. The Parana River serves as a crucial transport artery, facilitating almost 80% of Paraguay’s trade activities between the interior of the continent and the Atlantic Ocean.
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Argentina’s decision to impose tolls on the Parana River has not been well-received by neighboring countries. Paraguay, Uruguay, and Bolivia have all criticized the move and called on Argentina to provide a technical report justifying the toll rate. Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benítez even traveled to Argentina in the second week of March to present his nation’s position, but to no avail.
President Fernández has expressed Argentina’s willingness to continue evaluating the issue within the institutional framework of the Paraguay-Parana Waterway agreement. The decision to charge the fee has caused considerable anger in Paraguay. Esteban Dos Santos, president of the Center of River and Maritime Shipowners of Paraguay, has described Argentina’s attitude as “very striking” and “surprising”.
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Dos Santos noted that Paraguay, Uruguay, and Bolivia all reject the toll, and that Paraguay has continued to honor the Paraguay-Parana waterway agreement.
The situation is now set to be discussed by a technical roundtable in April, ahead of the meetings of the Regional Commission of the Paraguay-Parana waterway agreement. It remains to be seen whether a satisfactory resolution can be reached.
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In the meantime, the Argentine decision to collect the fee has left Paraguay steaming. It is a decision that has been met with widespread criticism and could have serious repercussions for both countries.
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