Peru to Ask U.S. Congress to Extend Trade Preference
By Alex Emery,
Bloomberg, November 27, 2006
Nov. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Peruvian
officials plan to lobby the U.S. Congress to extend
U.S.-Andean preferential tariffs after giving up on
winning approval for a free trade agreement before
An eight-minister delegation will
travel to Washington next week to urge Democratic
lawmakers, who took control of Congress in Nov. 7
elections, to extend for a year preferential tariffs
due to expire next month, Peru's Trade Minister
Mercedes Araoz said. Meanwhile, Peru is focusing on
trade accords with Canada and Pacific Rim nations
such as China, Araoz said.
officials will stress to Democrats skeptical of
free-trade agreements how President Alan Garcia
supports efforts by the U.S. to stem the region's
drug trade, Araoz said. They will also argue
Peru is a counterweight to Venezuelan President Hugo
Chavez, who has sought to fan anti-U.S. sentiment
and economic nationalism in South America, he said.
``This anti-globalization movement
is going against history,'' Araoz told foreign
correspondents today in Lima. ``President Garcia
backs the free-trade agreement for the Americas. We
shouldn't be held hostage to the debate between
Republicans and Democrats.''
Garcia remains one of the few pro-U.S.
leaders in the region as former Ecuadorian Finance
Minister Rafael Correa, an ally of Chavez who
advocates possibly defaulting on the nation's debt,
collected 67 percent of the vote with 52 percent of
the ballots counted from yesterday's election.
Chavez allies Evo Morales of Bolivia and Daniel
Ortega of Nicaragua won elections over the past 12
`Southeast Asia Strategy'
``With so few days left before
Congress adjourns, even the preferential tariffs are
going to be difficult to get,'' David Lewis, an
analyst at Washington-based trade consultant firm
Manchester Trade Ltd. ``There are more pressing
issues, and a lot of people who came in are not
Araoz said her contacts in the
U.S. have told her not to expect Congress to even
take up the Peru free trade agreement before April.
Peru and Canada are scheduled to
start trade talks in mid- December, while Peru has
proposed similar agreements with China, Japan, South
Korea, Australia and New Zealand, Araoz said. Peru
has signed accords with Chile and Thailand this year
and is currently negotiating with Singapore and
``There's a strong focus on our
Southeast Asia strategy,'' Araoz said.
Peru's currency was little changed
at 3.2260 to the U.S. dollar after the central bank
bought $10 million on the exchange market Nov. 24.
The sol has gained 5.8 percent so far this year.
The yield on Peru's benchmark 9
7/8 bond due 2015 rose 7 basis points, or 0.07
percentage point, to 5.967. The bond's price, which
moves inversely to its yield, fell 0.5 cent to 125,
a five-week low.
To contact the reporter on this
story: Alex Emery in Lima at