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Peru and Mexico negotiate free trade pact

Thursday, August 31st 2006 - 21:00 UTC
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Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez said here Thursday that his country and Peru are “90 percent” of the way to concluding a free trade agreement.

At the end of a meeting with Peruvian counterpart Jose Antonio Garcia Belaunde, Derbez announced that the broadening of the 1987 bilateral economic accord could result in the elimination of tariffs on 300 agricultural products, which he described as a key goal of the government of Peru's President Alan Garcia.

Mexico and Peru have been negotiating since the beginning of the year to expand their 1987 agreement into a full-fledged free trade pact.

Derbez announced that his country will send within the next month a technical delegation to Peru to complete pending matters, among which are a "reciprocal accord on investment protection."

He emphasized that the possible signing of the trade pact, which Mexico hopes to finalize before Dec. 1, when President Vicente Fox will leave office, will permit the two countries "to handle jointly the export of products to the United States." "The (free trade treaty) could make trade between the two nations very strong, along with the competitive penetration of a market (i.e. the United States) that interests our two countries," he said.

For his part, Garcia Belaunde said that "what this is about is broadening the coverage of the current (treaty), a free trade treaty where we can incorporate at different rates all products subject to tariff." Regarding Mexico's interest in Peruvian natural gas, Derbez said that he hoped "to finish negotiations with Peru soon" on gas sales, probably within the next three or four months.

He added that, if a gas sales agreement is concluded, exports could start in 2010-2011, when the construction of the re-gasification plants in Mexico is forecast to be finished.

Categories: Mercosur.

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