World

Peru, India to Start Free Trade Talks This Quarter

Prime Minister Fernando Zavala of Peru (R) and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. Credit: Reuters/Files

Prime Minister Fernando Zavala of Peru (R) and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. Credit: Reuters/Files

Lima: India and Peru plan to start negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement covering goods, services and investments sometime in the first quarter, Peru said on Wednesday.

The cabinet of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved a feasibility study on the proposed deal on Wednesday, clearing the way for the start of formal talks, Peru‘s trade ministry said in a statement.

Peru said an initial technical meeting in the first quarter would mark the first time that India, one of the world’s biggest and fastest-growing economies, negotiated a comprehensive trade deal with a Latin American country.

Peru is a leading producer of copper, gold and fishmeal and was one of 12 signatories of the US-proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal that US president-elect Donald Trump has vowed to scrap.

After last year’s US presidential election, Peru said it hoped to join the rival Beijing-backed trade deal, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, that several TPP economies as well as India have been negotiating.

Peru, with a population of 30 million, is one of Latin America’s most open and fastest-growing economies.

Peru‘s exports to India would likely rise 12% if the two countries passed a free trade deal, with clothes, fruits and vegetables and chemical products poised to benefit the most, the ministry said.