The following excerpt was contributed by International Trade Attorney and Consultant, Andrea Ewart in the August 5th publication of Latin America Advisor.

Andrea Ewart, CEO of DevelopTradeLaw: “The decisive rejection of Bouterse’s government by the Surinamese electorate gives the new government a strong mandate to address the long list of challenges facing the country. Having successfully handled the first task—forming the four-party governing coalition and the peaceful transition of power—the immediate priority is coronavirus containment, without which the road to economic recovery will be even more daunting. Other priorities include debt restructuring and skillful foreign policy realignment. Repairing ties with the United States and the Netherlands is key to managing its debt.

The government also has an interest in maintaining current ties with China, which is providing needed infrastructure development and had promised Bouterse a $300 million line of credit, a lifesaver to the heavily indebted country. Suriname will need the policy space to maneuver in its best interests.

Attracting foreign investment for long-term development requires significant reform of the country’s dysfunctional legal system, characterized by antiquated, irrelevant and inactive business-related legislation. The World Bank’s 2020 Doing Business Report ranked Suriname 162 out of 190 countries.

With respect to starting a business and contract enforcement, the country placed in the bottom 10th percentile, significantly below the mean for Latin America and the Caribbean. It placed in the bottom 20th percentile with respect to registering property. In sum, the legal and justice sectors of Suriname are extremely unfriendly to business and to the needs of the international economy, placing the need for legal reform high on the long list of priorities the new government will need to tackle.”

What are your thoughts? Contact us or leave a comment below. DevelopTradeLaw LLC’s Andrea Ewart is an international trade lawyer in Washington, DC. You can read the article in its entirety at https://www.thedialogue.org/latin-america-advisor/