The Governments of Peru and Australia on Wednesday began the first round of negotiations towards a free trade agreement (FTA), the Inca country's Foreign Trade and Tourism Ministry (Mincetur) informed.
This first round
, running thru July 7, involves more than 20 Peruvian public sector institutions.
The two Pacific nations thus follow on plans previously announced by Peru's Foreign Trade and Tourism Minister Eduardo Ferreyros and Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo during a meeting in Canberra last May.
Broad, modern FTA
In this sense, Peru's Deputy Foreign Trade Minister Edgar Vasquez said several meetings are taking place this week to guarantee a comprehensive and modern FTA.
These cover topics like tariffs, rules of origin
, sanitary measures, services, movement of people, e-commerce, investment, cooperation, among others.
"Both countries have a large number of common interest areas. We are both, for instance, interested in increasing agricultural exports, boosting the trade of professional services, mining-related services and promoting investment between our countries," the government official explained.
"Thus, we expect this first round of negotiations to lead to significant progress," he added.
Activities have also included information meetings with certified guilds and associations to join the process.
"And, once the [negotiations] round concludes, meetings will be held to report on progress made," he concluded.
According to Mincetur, Peru's exports to Australia reached US$260 million in 2016, non-traditional shipments accounting for US$50 million of this sum.
Still, Peruvian exports have potential for further growth in this market considering Australia’s high purchasing power.
Australia's GDP per capita exceeded US$40,000 in 2016, and its non-traditional exports stood at around US$165 billion.