LIMA: Peru is pushing for a free-trade agreement with the Gulf states as it aggressively expands beyond pacts it has implemented with China and the United States, state-run media said Friday.
Peruvian trade officials hope to agree on a framework for negotiations at the Summit of South American-Arab countries (ASPA) Feb. 13-16 in Lima.
“The idea is to reach an agreement from this summit with the most important Arab countries that will allow us to evaluate a possible free trade agreement,” Deputy Trade Minister Carlos Posada told local media.
The Gulf is not currently a primary destination for Peruvian exports but high per capita growth in Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates make those countries attractive markets for Peru, Posada said.
Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia also belong to the group of six states.
Peru is a top global exporter of minerals and fishmeal and has lately made a push into specialty seafoods, fruits and vegetables - such as asparagus and artichokes.
President Alan Garcia, who will leave office in July, has implemented free trade agreements with the US and China. Peru has also negotiated trade agreements.
Garcia said the Third Latin American and Arab Countries (ASPA) summit in Lima will be an unprecedented step toward bridging two cultures and an excellent opportunity to explore investment prospects between the two regions.
“This is the first time we draw the attention of countries with highest capital and savings rates in the world. Reserve funds from Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Libya are very important.
“South America must benefit from them and forge alliances to attract investments and exploit resources from around the country and continent,” he said.