Legal framework

The legal framework analysis aims to provide general knowledge of the national cooperative legislation and of its main characteristics and contents, with particular regard to those aspects of regulation regarding the identity of cooperatives and its distinction from other types of business organisations, notably the for-profit shareholder corporation.

It aims to evaluate whether the national legislation in place supports or hampers the development of cooperatives, and is therefore “cooperative friendly” or not, and the degree to which it may be considered so, also in comparison to the legislation in force in other countries of the ICA region, or at the supranational level.

In addition, the research aims to provide recommendations for eventual renewal of the legal frameworks in place in order to understand what changes in the current legislation would be necessary to improve its degree of “cooperative friendliness”, which is to say, to make the legislation more favourable to cooperatives, also in consideration of their specific identity. This webpage presents a snapshot of the legal framework analysis results for Bolivia.


The Bolivian cooperative legislation is contained in national law No. 356 called the General Law on Cooperatives published in the Official Journal of Bolivia on April 11, 2013, and the Regulations of the General Law of Cooperatives put into effect by Decree No. 1995 of May 13, 2014. It should be clarified that, although it is a decentralized country with autonomy, by constitutional mandate on the basis of the residual clause, substantive and adjective legislation on cooperative matters falls within the competence of the central level of the State; providing, as exclusive competence of the central level of the State, basic services policies, that is, that this level of government in this area has legislative, regulatory and executive authority, being able to transfer and delegate the latter two.


Cooperative Friendliness

To obtain approval of resolutions or regulations, there is an exaggerated bureaucracy that, compared to a private company, makes obtaining legal status more complicated. The Political Constitution of the State, Laws and Regulations to the Law, are good, except that they do not contemplate associated work cooperatives.

The State's Political Constitution considers the cooperative sector in 12 articles. There, it promotes the purchase and participation of the cooperative sector, even in sectors where the state closes participation in the particular private sector. Likewise, the law and regulation are very favorable in their drafting, lacking only processes of practical applicability. For the promotion of cooperatives, there is even a state body, which is the Directorate of Public Policy and Cooperative Development. It is important to note that the drafting of the Law on Cooperatives of Bolivia, had the direct participation of the cooperative sectors, who developed proposals in all its articles.

Notwithstanding the above issues, Bolivian legislation is very much in favor of cooperatives.


Key recommendations for improvement

  • The creation of specific legislation for the sector of associated work cooperatives is necessary.
  • Special legislation on administrative procedures, where the operational practice is contemplated in order to shorten the response times from the state to the sector's processes, as well as the training of the population and the state within the model.
  • The insertion of tax incentives, the sector does not differ from others in this aspect and even has double taxes in some cases.
  • Legislation incorporating Associated Work Cooperatives is required.
  • It is important that cooperatives also have their own sectoral legislation.



It should be noted that we only have the responses of one ICA member, which is generally consistent with the expert's opinion, so its integration into the report has not had setbacks. In any event, the different declarations and documents drawn up by the cooperative movement in recent times have also been taken into account, whether they are general in nature or referenced particularly to certain sectors.


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