Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Peru emerges as China's gateway to Latin America

Peru emerges as China's gateway to Latin America

The new Peruvian government of President Ollanta Humala is accelerating programs begun by previous administrations to broaden and deepen ties with Beijing, and make the Andean nation a key gateway between Asia and Latin America.

This drive, constructed on strong links between Peru and China that go back more than 150 years, reached a major milestone in the third quarter of this year when China overtook the United States as Peru's main trading partner.

Superficially, the story of China's interest in Peru looks very much like its efforts to corner reserves of natural resources elsewhere in the world, especially Africa.

China's investments in Peru, upwards of $10 billion, are almost all in mining operations and over 80 per cent of Peru's exports to China are four products: copper, iron, lead and fish meal.

But behind these numbers a much deeper relationship is growing that both the Lima and Beijing governments see as Peru becoming a major access point and base for Chinese business and investment in Latin America.

That wish has taken concrete form on several fronts.

Last month Peru hosted in Lima the fifth annual China-Latin America Business Summit which saw about 400 Chinese business people and government officials meet with about 600 Latin American counterparts.

And a year ago the opening of the Bio-ceanico Sur highway linked Peru's Pacific Ocean port of Ilo with the towns and cities of Brazil's central Amazon region.

The intention, as the highway's name says, is to create a transportation corridor between the Pacific and Brazil's Atlantic coast.

An indication of the importance of this and other Peruvian transport links to Pacific ports is that in the first 10 months of this year the country's exports rose by 31 per cent over the same period last year.

At the same time, imports rose by 28 per cent.

Read more:http://www.vancouversun.com/Peru+emerges+China+gateway+Latin+America/5811717/story.html#ixzz1gOA24xcO

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