China to Replace U.S. as Peru’s Top Trade Partner

China is set to replace the United States this year as Peru’s biggest trade partner, said Jorge Chian, the economic and trade advisor at Peru’s Embassy in Beijing.

In the first seven months of 2011, Peru’s exports to China grew by 30 percent and placed it above the United States, state news agency Andina reported.

Much of the Chinese demand for Peruvian exports is for base metals, including copper, zinc and lead.  As one of the world’s top mineral producers, Peru has benefitted from this strong demand.  China is also Peru’s biggest buyer of fishmeal.

However, Chian said that China is also increasing its purchases of Peru’s non-traditional products.

“The most important thing is that the demand from the Chinese market for non-traditional products increases according to the development of the standard of living of its population,” he said.

Chian added that during the past four years, Chinese demand for Peru’s non-traditional exports has grown to $400 million from $100 million.  The products include natural dyes such as cochineal and turmeric, which are used for food coloring and cosmetics.

Trade between China and Peru is expected to grow 32 percent this year to $13 billion, according to a Peruvian and Chinese business organization.

In 2010, China accounted for 16 percent of Peru’s exports, compared to 18 percent for the United States.

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