Legal market overview in Bolivia

Bolivia has made sufficient recovery since the Covid-19 pandemic, however, 2022 was a slower year for foreign investment. A number of firms highlighted a shortage of US dollars in the country, which has caused some concern among investors and slowed down the transactional side of some corporate matters. The corporate and tax practices at several firms have noticed the effects: there has been a tightening in regard to corporate compliance, and a rising number of tax audits. Some firms also noted an increase in work with companies closing down operations or withdrawing from Bolivia.

However, the Bolivian market is still seeing an interest in fintech companies and start-ups. The construction industry is another sector that has been growing consistently, and one that remains an area for investors: Indacochea & Asociados has led the way on some significant urbanisation projects recently.

The energy sector is also an area of activity, and one that has typically supported the Bolivian economy. Traditionally, oil and gas exportation has been a key source of income for Bolivia: the country supplies gas to several surrounding countries, such as Argentina and Brazil. However, with an increasing global awareness of climate-related issues and a turn to fossil fuel alternatives, there has been a growing interest in Bolivia’s lithium reserves. A number of firms have been advising on lithium exploitation projects in 2022.

The legal landscape has not seen much change, and the same key players remain at the forefront of the market. Moreno Baldivieso Estudio De Abogados’s full-service offering means it is still a go-to firm for a number of national and international clients; the firm is regularly involved in significant corporate transactions, both in Bolivia and across multiple jurisdictions. PPO Abogados continues to cement its position in the market, expanding its international reach, and adding both clients and services to its roster in 2022. Ferrere has also made a concerted effort to return to its position as a top firm; the energy and natural resources practice has developed at an impressive pace to match the increasing interest in the sector. With their full-service offering, Dentons Guevara & Gutierrez, Indacochea & Asociados and Bufete Aguirre, Quintanilla, Soria & Nishizawa Sociedad Civil – (BAQSN) remain firms to note. C.R. & F. Rojas – Abogados, Serrate Paz y Asociados and Würth Bedoya Costa Du Rels Abogados also present an offering that spans the majority of practice areas. The labour, IP and tax practices are particular areas where a number of boutique firms demonstrate their expertise. In terms of new firms, URENDA & URENDA entered the market in May 2022. With the experience of founding partners Alfredo and Manuel Urenda, the specialist corporate firm offers advice to foreign investors looking to expand into Bolivia.

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