The business sector was a relatively weak interest group and generally supported the government. The local business community was quite small, reflecting both the country's low level of industrialization and the presence of many foreign-owned financial institutions and agro-processing firms. Although local businessmen traditionally supported the Liberal Party, the political and monetary stability of the Stronato appealed to business leaders and made them cooperate closely with the Colorado Party and the government. Furthermore, businesses that strongly supported the government accrued considerable financial benefits, whereas those who were uncooperative placed their businesses in jeopardy. In an effort to increase its influence over the business sector, the government encouraged the formation of associations of businessmen and industrialists. The two leading business associations--the Federation of Production, Industry, and Commerce (Federación de la Producción, la Industria, y el Comercio--Feprinco) and the Paraguayan Industrial Union (Unión Industrial Paraguaya--UIP)--each had seats on the Council of State. The Colorado Party also maintained relations with the business sector through its ancillary organizations.
The business sector began to define some independence from the government, however, following the country's economic slump in the early and mid-1980s and a perceived lack of government response to the problem. For example, Feprinco president Alirio Ugarte Díaz spoke out against the government's economic policies, asking for action in reviving the economy and eliminating corruption. Although neither the Feprinco nor the UIP participated in the national dialogue in 1987, both submitted requests to the government for major policy changes to reverse the economic slump.
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