Peru and China begin FTA negotiations

Peru and China have begun the first round of negotiations for a free trade agreement that could be ratified by November, according to Foreign Trade and Tourism Minister Mercedes Aráoz. Agencia Andina quoted Aráoz saying that Peruvian and Chinese officials will try to reach an agreement before the 2008 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit scheduled for November in Lima.

“We want to reach a good agreement with our partners before the 2008 APEC summit,” said Aráoz. “It isn’t an obligation, but it would be a dream to quickly reach this type of an agreement.”

China is currently Peru’s second largest trade partner, as their bilateral economic and trade activities continue to expand. According to a FTA Joint Feasability Study, the bilateral trade volume totaled $3.9 billion in 2006, a 35 percent increase from 2005.

The balance of trade between the two countries has long favored Peru, which has a trade surplus of $6.6 billion between 1998 and 2006. In 2006, for instance, Peru exports to China were $2.9 billion while its imports were $1 billion.

The president of the Association of Peruvian Exporters, José Luis Silva, told daily El Comercio China could quickly overcome the United States as Peru’s main trade partner with the FTA.

“What we are exporting to China is still a very small quantity of products,” said Silva. “China has become our second largest trade partner, and at any moment it could become the first if growth continues at this rate.”

Peru’s primary exports to China are fishmeal and mineral products, particularly copper and lead ores. Its main imports from China are mechanical and electronic products, high and new technological products, as well as textiles and garments.

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