Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Peru is a Done Deal

Today the Senate approved the Peru Trade Promotion Agreement by a vote of 77 to 18. This clears the way for the president to sign it into law. Here is a NY Times article on the passage. As these things go, this is not a very big deal in terms of economic impact for the U.S. Total trade between the U.S. and Peru is less than $8 billion per year, accounting for less than half a percent of the total U.S. trade volume.
Peru has a population of about 28 million and a land area slightly smaller than Alaska. Economically, Peru is heavily dependent on its mineral wealth for exports. From 2002 to 2006, there was consistent economic growth and currency stability although the need to improve infrastructure has limited foreign investment. In addition to copper, gold, and petroleum, major exports include textiles and guinea pigs. Major imports to Peru are plastics, machinery, and vehicles. The U.S. is the largest exporter to Peru followed by China, Brazil, and Ecuador.

In case you are wondering, these are not the kind of facts I generally have in my head. I took them from the CIA Factbook. Because it comes from America's intelligence community, this information is entirely reliable and should be used as the basis for important policy decisions.

Even without the agreement, nearly all Peruvian products enter the U.S. duty free. Thus, the value of this agreement is in better market access by U.S. exporters to Peru and in certain legal reforms undertaken in Peru. According to Article 23.4, this agreement will enter into effect 60 days after the parties exchange letters saying they are ready. I believe the letters are to be left in a mayonnaise jar on Funk & Wagnell's porch.

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