Doing business in: Bolivia
Produced in partnership with Carolina Aguirre and Fernando Aguirre of Bufete Aguirre Soc. Civ.
Doing business in: Bolivia

The following Commercial guidance note Produced in partnership with Carolina Aguirre and Fernando Aguirre of Bufete Aguirre Soc. Civ. provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Doing business in: Bolivia
  • Introduction
  • The business environment
  • Forming a company
  • Financing a company
  • Opening a branch office
  • Opening a bank account
  • Utilising office space
  • Immigration controls
  • Key employment laws
  • more

Updated in March 2019

Introduction

This Practice Note sets out some of the key considerations for a business before it decides to commence operations in Bolivia.

During the 1990s, Bolivia, as other countries in the world to varying degrees, implemented an extensive plan for privatisation of state-owned companies and certain public services, and new supporting legislation which promoted a wave of foreign investments. This was particularly the case in the industry sectors of hydrocarbons, telecommunications, rail transport, electricity, water supply, and to an extent, mining.

The twenty-first century opened with resistance and social protest against such policies. The privatisation of the water supply in the city of Cochabamba, accompanied by an important increase in tariffs, led to the so-called 'water war'. As a result of civil and political resistance, the concession, held by a group of foreign investors, was cancelled. This triggered a claim via international arbitration which was eventually settled. A similar situation followed with the water supply company in the main city of La Paz.

Opposition against the hydrocarbons privatisation policies and a large export project for natural gas using ports in the Republic of Chile, led to the 'gas war', which ended with the fall of the then President Sanchez de Lozada, triggering a new political transition which included a referendum on natural gas policies, a new Law of