Reuters | Wednesday April 06, 2011
Peru, Mexico move toward Latam trade integration
– Negotiations conclude after five years
– Peru says Latam integration opens doors to Asian markets
LIMA, April 6 (Reuters) — Mexico and Peru signed a trade agreement on Wednesday after five years of negotiations, one of many efforts by outgoing President Alan Garcia to find new markets for Peruvian goods as the local economy booms.
The agreement should enter force in July, when Garcia leaves office, Peru’s trade minister, Eduardo Ferreyros, said.
It marks Peru’s 10th trade pact from Asia to Europe. The country’s talks with Mexico stalled during the global recession of 2009.
"We have free-trade agreements with the United States, China and the European Union for our agricultural and fishery goods," Ferreyros said. "This agreement is important for our small businesses and manufacturing sector."
Domestic demand and construction have outpaced mining as the traditional growth engine in Peru, one of the world’s fastest growing economies.
The Andean nation has talks ongoing with the nine members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation group that would create the so-called Trans Pacific Partnership trade area.
"We already have agreements with Colombia and Chile; this is going to permit us to have a more profound integration with the Pacific and integrate with Asian markets," Ferreyros said.
Mexico sought to exclude some agricultural goods from preferential status during negotiations with Peru to protect its domestic market. Mexico, Latin America’s second largest economy, sends roughly 80 percent of its exports to the United States.
"This is a step forward for the decade of Latin America," Mexican Economy Minister Bruno Ferrari said during the signing ceremony.
(Reporting by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Leslie Adler)