(MENAFN - Arab News) Peruvian President Ollanta Humala is expected to visit Saudi Arabia in 2015 to participate in the fourth Summit of South American and Arab Countries (ASPA) and launch negotiations for a free-trade agreement.
'A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed last year by Peru Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries' Peruvian Ambassador Eduardo Martinetti told Arab News.
He added that 'the MoU indicates that Peru Saudi Arabia and the other GCC countries will adopt measures for expanding and liberalizing their trade relations including establishing a free-trade area between them.'
He also said that Peru is looking forward to the meeting since such an agreement will not only boost its multilateral trade with the Gulf but also bolster economic and financial joint ventures.
The Peruvian Embassy has started the groundwork ahead of the upcoming negotiations.
'Every country involved will form a committee comprising experts and advisers from the private sector so that their views and interests can be harmonized' the Peruvian envoy said. 'The ASPA summit will be attended by the Peruvian president and eleven other South American heads of state as well as monarchs and prime ministers from 22 Arab countries' said Martinetti who arrived in the Kingdom as the first Peruvian ambassador in July 2012.
Martinetti added that the previous ASPA Summit was held in Lima Peru with the attendanceof high-ranking officials from Saudi Arabia and other GCC and Arab League countries.
President Humala a former army officer who ran for office in 2011 leads a booming economy whose GDP has twice doubled since 2000 boasting the highest growth rate among South American countries for 13 years in a row.
The diplomat recalled the first shipment of Saudi dates sent to Lima which was delayed by Peruvian sanitary officials until it complied with local regulations. 'With the support of the Saudi Embassy in Lima this case enabled the two countries' regulatory entities to establish a closer relationship' he said.
'Businessmen in both countries need to be fully aware of the rules and regulations regarding exports to and from Peru so that products can reach the market without delay.'
Benefiting from its vast and diversified resources and exports Peru pursues an open economy and has signed free-trade agreements with all its major trading partners including the United States China and the European Union.
'Peru is big on mining although the country has prospected only 25 percent of its total territory' the ambassador said. He added that his country ranks first in Latin America in gold production second in silver worldwide and third in copper tin and zinc. He remarked that Peru has also been a fishing country for decades and a first-world exporter of fish meal and fish oil making it an important fish exporter.