China and Peru look to bright future together

Updated: 2015-05-23 05:31

By YANG YAO in Beijing(China Daily USA)

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China and Peru reiterated on April 16 their mutual desire to secure continued bilateral ties with clear goals, as the two nations marked five years of an established free trade agreement (FTA), Xinhua reported.

Chinese Ambassador Huang Minhui was quoted by Xinhua in a forum held at the University of the Pacific, as saying that "the current global situation is very important to the development of the economic, trade and cooperation ties between our two countries."

His words highlighted the challenges and opportunities ahead.

While the global outlook is less than encouraging, given the fluctuating prices in the international market, "both countries share a strong political will and amply agree on continuing to promote the FTA," the ambassador said.

The bilateral FTA took effect in 2010. Since 2012, China has been Peru's main trading partner and the leading destination for Peru's total exports. In 2014, China also became its main supplier of capital goods and leading investor, with $18 billion.

Magali Silva, Peru's minister of foreign trade and tourism, was quoted by Xinhua as saying that the government was working to diversify domestic production by boosting nontraditional exports, such as seaweed meal, giant squid, fruits and vegetables, to reduce its reliance on raw material exports.

As part of that push, Peru's nontraditional exports to China reached more than $467 million at the end of 2014, double that of four years ago. The goal is to reach "$25 billion in 10 years", Silva said, and Peru is working with China on sanitary, phytosanitary and customs issues "to increase our products in that market".

The representative of the Association of Peru's Agrarian Products Unions (AGAP), Ana Deusta, said among the challenges facing the South American country was increasing its agricultural and fisheries production, and seeking new options in a market such as China, where the demand for foodstuffs is growing steadily.

Economist Fernando Gonzales-Vigil was quoted as saying that FTAs such as the one signed between Peru and China are fulfilling the objective of diversifying domestic production and providing added value.

He said the positive aspect of the bilateral relationship was that it had built a strategic partnership, whose strength was consolidating not just trade, but also investment exchange, through the presence of China's ICBC bank in the country, one of the five largest in the world.

Former Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism, and manager of FTAs, Pablo de la Flor, noted that the Peru-China agreement initially sparked concern at home, mainly because of the disparate size of their economies.

However, as the agreement was founded on "mutual and complementary interests", it has developed at a "balanced pace" and should continue to do so in the future.