* New administration planning for future bond sales
* Aims to start talks with Rio Tinto on aluminum smelter
By Daniela Desantis
ASUNCION, June 29 (Reuters) - Paraguay's new government wants to pave the way for future global debt issues so investors abroad can get to know the small South American nation, Finance Minister Manuel Ferreira said on Friday.
Ferreira was sworn into office this week after Paraguay's Senate removed President Fernando Lugo from office in a lightning-quick impeachment. Lugo was replaced by his vice president, Federico Franco, who was one of his fiercest critics.
The unprecedented speed of Lugo's ouster prompted criticism in South America and beyond, but the impeachment was upheld by Paraguay's Supreme Court and its top electoral tribunal. Franco will remain in power until August 2013.
"The idea is to initiate a process of issuing sovereign debt," Ferreira said in an interview with Reuters.
"We are starting the process. This implies hiring lawyers, talking to investment banks that could manage the deal, starting to look at what it takes to register with the SEC," he said, referring to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The landlocked, soy-exporting nation of 6 million people last issued debt in 2000 for the amount of $400 million, but this was agreed to ahead of time with two banks in Taiwan, with which Paraguay has diplomatic relations.
"I don't know if we'll be able to finish this process, I don't know if we'll have enough time. We are a transition government," Ferreira said, adding that the amount of any future debt issue had not been decided.
Standard & Poor's placed Paraguay's credit rating on a negative watch this week over the possible economic ramifications of Lugo's impeachment. Moody's said it would monitor the situation as well.
The Mercosur trade bloc - which includes Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay - suspended Paraguay from its meetings until a new presidential election is held in April.
But it did not take economic sanctions against the country, which is one of the poorest in South America.
Ferreira said he expected the ratings agencies' worries would be eased as the Franco administration works to ensure macroeconomic stability, keep fiscal accounts in order and combat inflation.
Franco's government asked Congress to approve loans and international donations totaling about $480 million to stimulate Paraguay's economy, which is forecast to contract 1.5 percent this year.
The finance minister also said the government plans to sign a decree shortly to authorize the start of negotiations with Rio Tinto Alcan over the construction of an aluminum smelter that requires a $3.5 billion investment.
The talks stalled due to conflicts within Lugo's government over the price Paraguay should charge the firm for supplying it with energy.