Four-Strong Latin American Trade Bloc Key To Boosting Peru Exports

Members of the Pacific Alliance trade bloc could each see 2,000 of their national goods benefit from the pact’s easing of tariffs and trade restrictions, the head of Peru’s exporters union said today.

Peru’s little-exported textile, agriculture and metallurgy industries are some that could gain from negotiated free trade agreements with partners Chile, Colombia and Mexico.

The Pacific Alliance rivals other regional blocs such as Mercosur and Alba.

“The strategy of these agreements should now focus in attracting investment, so we must take maximum advantage from each benefits, driving the export of new products,” said head of Economic Studies of the Association of Exports (ADEX in its Spanish initials), Carlos Gonzalez.

The Andean nation’s membership of the Pacific Alliance, set up in 2011, and ongoing talks with the U.S. in its landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership, are seen as key to its greater integration in the world economy.

Peru is a minor exporter, holding a less than a percentage point share of world trade, according to the Peruano newspaper.

Peru’s exports to the U.S. grew by a quarter in the five years to 2013 to $7.3 billion.

Mining reliance

Mr Gonzalez remarks come days after Peru’s President Humala cautioned the other nations on an over-dependence on exporting of raw materials to power their economies, at the bloc’s summit in Mexico last week.

A slowdown in Chinese demand for copper, which makes up a quarter of Peru’s exports, has reduced growth this year.

The National Plan of Productive Diversification is one government initiative to broaden Peru’s exports from reliance on mining, which formed 67.5 percent of exports in April according to its national statistics office.

Mr Gonzalez gave no estimate for the increase in exports the alliance would bring, though said it contained a “qualitative aspect” which would drive the country’s industrial development.

A core plank of the Pacific Alliance is the integration of members’ stock exchanges into the Latin American Integrated Market.

Mercosur is made up of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Valencia, and Venezuela, while Alba is formed of Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Nicaragua and five Caribbean nations including Cuba.

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