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On 7 December 2005, Peru and the United States signed a bilateral treaty called the Trade Promotion Agreement.

The signing triggered a wave of public demonstrations in 2005. Prominent among the organizers were small farm organizations asserting that they would likely be hit the hardest by the resulting elimination of tariffs and other trade protections. The Peruvian government claimed that it would offer subsidies to reduce the agreement’s impact on small farmers, just as the United States does for its own agricultural sector. When the government failed to live up to this promise, the peasants marched in protest, demanding that the subsidies be released. In the midst of these protests, Peru ratified the FTA in June 2006.

February 2008 saw a new round of protests dubbed the “Paralización Nacional Agrícola” (National Agrarian Shutdown), in which thousands of small farmers participated. The protests, organized by the Comando Nacional Unitario de Lucha de los Campesinos Peruanos, were repressed by the authorities, leaving a total of four dead.

As part of the legislative package required by the FTA prior to its entry into force on 1 January 2009, the Peruvian executive branch – making use of the legislative powers granted by Congress – passed Legislative Decree 1015 on May 20 reducing the percentage of peasant and indigenous community members required to vote in order to sell or give concessions on their land in mountain and jungle areas.

In reaction, indigenous people from the Peruvian Amazon held several weeks of protests in August 2008 calling for the revocation of over 30 FTA-related decrees affecting their land rights. They were successful in getting the Peruvian Congress to revoke Decrees 1015 and 1073.

Also in August 2008, the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) amended Decision 486 regarding intellectual property in order to allow Peru to implement the FTA with the US. The amendment, initially rejected by Bolivia, brought CAN to the brink of dissolution.

The US-Peru FTA took effect on 1 February 2009.

last update: May 2012

Photo: Giuliano Koren / Global Giving

Indigenous leaders declare hunger strike in Peruvian Congress to protest FTA decrees
As the Peruvian government declared a state of emergency in the face of one month long indigenous protests, 42 indigenous leaders have entered the Peruvian Congress to announce a hunger strike until the issue of a repeal of decrees affecting the territorial rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon is debated by the full legislature. The decrees, which were passed to facilitate the Free Trade Agreement with the United States, facilitate the transfer of Amazon land and resource rights to oil, mining, logging and agricultural companies to the detriment of indigenous and campesino inhabitants. They also set the stage for the privatization of water resources.
Ramming the matter home: Peru-US FTA rushed, diluted and finagled
Two weeks ago, as the Peruvian Congress buoyantly rushed to amend labor, health, and environmental requirements in order to implement the long pending bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US, former President George W. Bush and Peruvian President Alan García could not afford any further delays. As Barack Obama moved into the White House, it was clear that the Bush and García Administrations’ priority was to declare the FTA in effect regardless of what had been previously negotiated and amended in the halls of the Peruvian Congress.
US, Peru wrap up trade pact despite objections
Leaders of the United States and Peru finalized a free trade agreement on Friday, just days before US President George W. Bush leaves office and despite concerns about labor laws in the Andean country.
Protest against Bush and Alan García
A demonstration in the Peruvian capital by left-wing political movements against US President Bush’s visit to the country turned into a protest Friday by hundreds of laid-off workers and trade unions in conflict with local and foreign companies.
Free Trade Opens Environmental Window
Legislative decree 1090, which modifies Peru’s forest policy, is worrying U.S. trade authorities because it contravenes environmental clauses of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that is to enter force between the two countries in January 2009.
Indigenous seek more land rights
Peru’s Congress on Sept. 20 signed a law repealing two presidential decrees that lowered the requirements for the sale of indigenous lands a month after large mobilizations by indigenous Amazon groups in demand that the laws be knocked down.
Peru and the US to finish implementing free trade deal at APEC summit
The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Peru and the United Stated is expected to come into force starting January 2009, after both presidents Alan García and George W. Bush announce the completion of this implementation process during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) to be held in November in Lima, Peru.
Peru: Indigenous occupations end with victory in Congress
On August 22nd, the Peruvian Congress repealed two legislative decrees at the root of the indigenous demonstrations that paralyzed various roads and energy installations from August 9th through 20th. The indigenous movement of the Amazon, home to 65 different indigenous nations, declared victory.
Peru: indigenous uprising claims victory — for now
Indigenous groups in Peru ended more than a week of militant protests Aug. 20 at key energy sites after lawmakers agreed to overturn a new land law issued by President Alan García, which sought to ease corporate access to communal territories. García had issued the law by decree earlier under special powers Congress granted him to bring Peruvian law into compliance with a new free-trade deal with the US. A congressional commission voted to revoke the law Aug. 19, and floor vote is expected later this week.
Peru: Native groups protest laws facilitating sales of land
Since Aug. 9, indigenous demonstrators have been demanding the repeal of two decree laws that promote private investment in their territory, and the reestablishment of a clause from the 1979 constitution — which was replaced by the new constitution in 1993 — which stated that communally owned land in indigenous territory could not be sold or embargoed. The decree laws were approved by the executive branch under special powers granted by the legislature for the implementation of the free trade agreement signed with the United States.