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South America :: Paraguay
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Paraguay
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Location of Paraguay
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Introduction ::Paraguay
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Paraguay achieved its independence from Spain in 1811. In the disastrous War of the Triple Alliance (1865-70) - between Paraguay and Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay - Paraguay lost two-thirds of all adult males and much of its territory. The country stagnated economically for the next half century. Following the Chaco War of 1932-35 with Bolivia, Paraguay gained a large part of the Chaco lowland region. The 35-year military dictatorship of Alfredo STROESSNER ended in 1989, and, despite a marked increase in political infighting in recent years, Paraguay has held relatively free and regular presidential elections since then.
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Geography ::Paraguay
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Central South America, northeast of Argentina
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23 00 S, 58 00 W
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total: 406,752 sq km
country comparison to the world: 59
land: 397,302 sq km
water: 9,450 sq km
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slightly smaller than California
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total: 3,995 km
border countries: Argentina 1,880 km, Bolivia 750 km, Brazil 1,365 km
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0 km (landlocked)
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none (landlocked)
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subtropical to temperate; substantial rainfall in the eastern portions, becoming semiarid in the far west
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grassy plains and wooded hills east of Rio Paraguay; Gran Chaco region west of Rio Paraguay mostly low, marshy plain near the river, and dry forest and thorny scrub elsewhere
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lowest point: junction of Rio Paraguay and Rio Parana 46 m
highest point: Cerro Pero (Cerro Tres Kandu) 842 m
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hydropower, timber, iron ore, manganese, limestone
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arable land: 7.47%
permanent crops: 0.24%
other: 92.29% (2005)
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670 sq km (2003)
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336 cu km (2000)
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total: 0.49 cu km/yr (20%/8%/71%)
per capita: 80 cu m/yr (2000)
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local flooding in southeast (early September to June); poorly drained plains may become boggy (early October to June)
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deforestation; water pollution; inadequate means for waste disposal pose health risks for many urban residents; loss of wetlands
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party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
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landlocked; lies between Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil; population concentrated in southern part of country
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People ::Paraguay
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6,995,655 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 101
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0-14 years: 36.7% (male 1,304,115/female 1,260,560)
15-64 years: 58.1% (male 2,043,509/female 2,023,317)
65 years and over: 5.2% (male 168,554/female 195,600) (2009 est.)
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total: 21.9 years
male: 21.6 years
female: 22.2 years (2009 est.)
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2.364% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 37
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28.17 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 53
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4.46 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 201
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-0.07 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 89
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urban population: 60% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 2.8% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
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at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
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total: 24.68 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 89
male: 28.77 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 20.38 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
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total population: 75.77 years
country comparison to the world: 73
male: 73.19 years
female: 78.49 years (2009 est.)
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3.75 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 51
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0.6% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 70
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21,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 78
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fewer than 1,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79
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degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: dengue fever and malaria (2009)
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noun: Paraguayan(s)
adjective: Paraguayan
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mestizo (mixed Spanish and Amerindian) 95%, other 5%
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Roman Catholic 89.6%, Protestant 6.2%, other Christian 1.1%, other or unspecified 1.9%, none 1.1% (2002 census)
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Spanish (official), Guarani (official)
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94%
male: 94.9%
female: 93% (2003 est.)
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total: 12 years
male: 12 years
female: 12 years (2005)
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4% of GDP (2004)
country comparison to the world: 104
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Government ::Paraguay
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conventional long form: Republic of Paraguay
conventional short form: Paraguay
local long form: Republica del Paraguay
local short form: Paraguay
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constitutional republic
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name: Asuncion
geographic coordinates: 25 16 S, 57 40 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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17 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento) and 1 capital city*; Alto Paraguay, Alto Parana, Amambay, Asuncion*, Boqueron, Caaguazu, Caazapa, Canindeyu, Central, Concepcion, Cordillera, Guaira, Itapua, Misiones, Neembucu, Paraguari, Presidente Hayes, San Pedro
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14 May 1811 (from Spain)
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Independence Day, 14 May 1811 (observed 15 May)
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promulgated 20 June 1992
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based on Argentine codes, Roman law, and French codes; judicial review of legislative acts in Supreme Court of Justice; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
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18 years of age; universal and compulsory up to age 75
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chief of state: President Fernando Armindo LUGO Mendez (since 15 August 2008); Vice President Federico FRANCO (since 15 August 2008); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Fernando Armindo LUGO Mendez (since 15 August 2008); Vice President Federico FRANCO (since 15 August 2008)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a single five-year term; election last held 20 April 2008 (next to be held April 2013)
election results: Fernando Armindo LUGO Mendez elected president; percent of vote - Fernando Armindo LUGO Mendez 40.8%, Blanca OVELAR 30.6%, Lino OVIEDO 21.9%, Pedro FADUL 2.4%, other 4.3%
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bicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consists of the Chamber of Senators or Camara de Senadores (45 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camara de Diputados (80 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: Chamber of Senators - last held 20 April 2008 (next to be held in April 2013); Chamber of Deputies - last held 20 April 2008 (next to be held in April 2013)
election results: Chamber of Senators - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ANR 15, PLRA 14, UNACE 9, PPQ 4, other 3; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ANR 30, PLRA 27, UNACE 15, PPQ 3, APC 2, other 3
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Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (nine judges appointed on the proposal of the Council of Magistrates or Consejo de la Magistratura)
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Alianza Patriotica por el Cambio (Patriotic Alliance for Change) or APC [Fernando LUGO]; Asociacion Nacional Republicana - Colorado Party or ANR [Lilian SAMANIEGO]; Movimiento Union Nacional de Ciudadanos Eticos or UNACE [Lino Cesar OVIEDO Silva]; Patria Querida (Beloved Fatherland Party) or PPQ [Pedro Nicolas Maraa FADUL Niella]; Partido del Movimiento al Socialismo or P-MAS; Partido Encuentro Nacional or PEN [Emilio CAMACHO Paredes]; Partido Liberal Radical Autentico or PLRA [Gustavo CARDOZO]; Partido Pais Solidario or PPS [Carlos Alberto FILIZZOLA Pallares]
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Ahorristas Estafados or AE; National Coordinating Board of Campesino Organizations or MCNOC [Luis AGUAYO]; National Federation of Campesinos or FNC [Odilon ESPINOLA]; National Workers Central or CNT [Secretary General Juan TORRALES]; Paraguayan Workers Confederation or CPT; Roman Catholic Church; Unitary Workers Central or CUT [Jorge Guzman ALVARENGA Malgarejo]
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CAN (associate), FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, LAIA, Mercosur, MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSTAH, MONUC, NAM (observer), OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
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chief of mission: Ambassador James SPALDING Hellmers
chancery: 2400 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 483-6960 through 6962
FAX: [1] (202) 234-4508
consulate(s) general: Kansas City (Kansas), Los Angeles, Miami, New York
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Ambassador Liliana AYALDE
embassy: 1776 Avenida Mariscal Lopez, Casilla Postal 402, Asuncion
mailing address: Unit 4711, APO AA 34036-0001
telephone: [595] (21) 213-715
FAX: [595] (21) 228-603
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three equal, horizontal bands of red (top), white, and blue with an emblem centered in the white band; unusual flag in that the emblem is different on each side; the obverse (hoist side at the left) bears the national coat of arms (a yellow five-pointed star within a green wreath capped by the words REPUBLICA DEL PARAGUAY, all within two circles); the reverse (hoist side at the right) bears the seal of the treasury (a yellow lion below a red Cap of Liberty and the words Paz y Justicia (Peace and Justice) capped by the words REPUBLICA DEL PARAGUAY, all within two circles)
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Economy ::Paraguay
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Landlocked Paraguay has a market economy marked by a large informal sector, featuring reexport of imported consumer goods to neighboring countries, as well as the activities of thousands of microenterprises and urban street vendors. A large percentage of the population, especially in rural areas, derives its living from agricultural activity, often on a subsistence basis. Because of the importance of the informal sector, accurate economic measures are difficult to obtain. On a per capita basis, real income has stagnated at 1980 levels. Most observers attribute Paraguay's poor economic performance to political uncertainty, corruption, limited progress on structural reform, and deficient infrastructure. The economy rebounded between 2003 and 2008, however, as growing world demand for commodities combined with high prices and favorable weather to support Paraguay's commodity-based export expansion. Paraguay is the sixth largest soy producer in the world.
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$28.89 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 108
$27.3 billion (2007 est.)
$25.56 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
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$16.01 billion (2008 est.)
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5.8% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 66
6.8% (2007 est.)
4.3% (2006 est.)
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$4,200 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152
$4,100 (2007 est.)
$3,900 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
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agriculture: 23.4%
industry: 18.4%
services: 58.2% (2008 est.)
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2.839 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105
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agriculture: 31%
industry: 17%
services: 52% (2007)
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5.4% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 65
5.6% (2007 est.)
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32% (2005 est.)
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lowest 10%: 1.1%
highest 10%: 42.3% (2007)
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56.8 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 9
57.7 (1998)
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19.6% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 114
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revenues: $2.856 billion
expenditures: $2.826 billion (2008 est.)
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23.2% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 87
39.2% of GDP (2004 est.)
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10.2% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
8.1% (2007 est.)
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20% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 7
20% (31 December 2007)
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10.28% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 11
25.03% (31 December 2007)
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$2.062 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 95
$1.943 billion (31 December 2007)
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$1.599 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 115
$1.368 billion (31 December 2007)
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$3.098 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 111
$2.457 billion (31 December 2007)
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$NA (31 December 2008)
$NA (31 December 2007)
$409.1 million (31 December 2006)
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cotton, sugarcane, soybeans, corn, wheat, tobacco, cassava (tapioca), fruits, vegetables; beef, pork, eggs, milk; timber
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sugar, cement, textiles, beverages, wood products, steel, metallurgic, electric power
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4% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 68
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53.19 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 46
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5.337 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 104
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45.14 billion kWh (2007 est.)
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0 kWh (2008 est.)
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26.97 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112
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28,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 115
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0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 146
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25,100 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 108
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0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 145
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 153
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0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 136
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 101
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0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
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$-239 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 92
$126.1 million (2007 est.)
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$8.152 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 94
$5.463 billion (2007 est.)
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soybeans, feed, cotton, meat, edible oils, electricity, wood, leather
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Argentina 23.9%, Brazil 17.7%, Uruguay 13%, Chile 7.1%, Russia 6.3%, Spain 4.4% (2008)
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$9.172 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 96
$6.008 billion (2007 est.)
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road vehicles, consumer goods, tobacco, petroleum products, electrical machinery, tractors, chemicals, vehicle parts
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Brazil 28.3%, US 22.9%, Argentina 12.7%, China 11.2% (2008)
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$2.845 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97
$2.462 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
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$3.507 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 112
$3.096 billion (31 December 2007)
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$2.057 million (2007)
country comparison to the world: 96
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$NA
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guarani (PYG) per US dollar - 4,337.7 (2008 est.), 5,031 (2007), 5,672.8 (2006), 6,178 (2005), 5,974.6 (2004)
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Communications ::Paraguay
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363,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 104
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5.791 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 81
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general assessment: meager telephone service; principal switching center is in Asuncion
domestic: the fixed-line market is a state monopoly; deficiencies in provision of fixed-line service have resulted in a rapid expansion of mobile-cellular services fostered by competition among multiple providers
international: country code - 595; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2008)
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AM 41, FM 121, shortwave 6 (2006)
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5 (2007)
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.py
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71,487 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 78
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894,200 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 93
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Transportation ::Paraguay
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798 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 9
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total: 14
over 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 6
914 to 1,523 m: 5 (2009)
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total: 784
1,524 to 2,437 m: 25
914 to 1,523 m: 289
under 914 m: 470 (2009)
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total: 36 km
country comparison to the world: 132
standard gauge: 36 km 1.435-m gauge (2008)
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total: 29,500 km
country comparison to the world: 98
paved: 14,986 km
unpaved: 14,514 km (2000)
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3,100 km (2008)
country comparison to the world: 33
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total: 23
country comparison to the world: 94
by type: cargo 18, carrier 1, passenger 1, petroleum tanker 2, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: 6 (Argentina 5, Netherlands 1) (2008)
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Asuncion, Villeta, San Antonio, Encarnacion
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Military ::Paraguay
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Army, National Navy (Armada Nacional, includes Naval Aviation, Marine Corps, General Naval Prefecture), Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Paraguay, FAP) (2008)
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18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 12 months for Army, 24 months for Navy (2007)
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males age 16-49: 1,589,873
females age 16-49: 1,585,573 (2008 est.)
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males age 16-49: 1,363,746
females age 16-49: 1,390,799 (2009 est.)
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male: 73,660
female: 72,046 (2009 est.)
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1% of GDP (2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 137
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Transnational Issues ::Paraguay
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unruly region at convergence of Argentina-Brazil-Paraguay borders is locus of money laundering, smuggling, arms and illegal narcotics trafficking, and fundraising for extremist organizations
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major illicit producer of cannabis, most or all of which is consumed in Brazil, Argentina, and Chile; transshipment country for Andean cocaine headed for Brazil, other Southern Cone markets, and Europe; weak border controls, extensive corruption and money-laundering activity, especially in the Tri-Border Area; weak anti-money-laundering laws and enforcement
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