Paraguay’s President-elect Santiago Pena expressed his country’s desire to enhance trade relations with China while highlighting the developmental advantages offered by its existing ties with Taiwan. During his visit to Taipei, Pena acknowledged Paraguay’s interest in expanding trade with China but emphasized that Taiwan’s support is instrumental in advancing the country’s largely agricultural economy up the value chain.

As the last South American nation maintaining formal relations with Taiwan, Paraguay finds itself in a unique position. China claims Taiwan as its own territory, while Paraguay and Taiwan continue their longstanding diplomatic ties. Earlier this year, Honduras ended its decades-long relations with Taiwan in favor of establishing diplomatic ties with Beijing, leaving only 13 countries that officially recognize Taiwan.

President-elect Pena’s remarks reflect Paraguay’s recognition of the potential benefits that trade with China can offer. However, he also acknowledges the developmental advantages that Paraguay has gained through its partnership with Taiwan. Paraguay’s agricultural economy can benefit from Taiwan’s expertise and assistance in moving towards higher value-added industries and diversifying its economic landscape.

The decision regarding trade partnerships is a complex one for Paraguay, considering both economic potential and political implications. While China holds immense economic influence globally, Paraguay’s longstanding relationship with Taiwan has proven beneficial in terms of development and capacity-building. As the country aspires to progress and move up the value chain, leveraging Taiwan’s support becomes a vital consideration.

Paraguay’s stance underscores the delicate balancing act that nations must navigate when it comes to international trade and diplomacy. Each country’s unique circumstances and priorities shape their decisions regarding trade partners. As Paraguay weighs its options, it must carefully evaluate the benefits and challenges associated with deepening relations with either China or Taiwan.

Ultimately, Paraguay’s pursuit of economic development will require a comprehensive strategy that takes into account both domestic needs and global opportunities. The decision to prioritize trade with Taiwan while acknowledging the potential benefits of trade with China reflects the country’s strategic approach to maximize its developmental prospects.