Offices of foreign concerns and most important retail establishments are in Asunción, the only significant commercial center. Most retail trade is in small shops dealing in a limited variety of goods.
Legislation in 1961 provided for governmental and private commercial credit companies to aid in the development of agricultural, livestock, and industrial activities. Consumer credit facilities have been expanding. Many of the larger Asunción stores offer installment credit.
Most commercial activity is focused on re-export of items from Asia and the United States to Argentina and Brazil. Much of this activity takes place through an underground market system, which some business groups claim is just as large as Paraguay's $20 billion formal economy. The informal sector features thousands of small enterprises and urban street vendors, along with re-exports of select imported consumer goods (electronics, whiskeys, perfumes, cigarettes, and office equipment).