BEIJING – Peru’s minister of agriculture and irrigation, Fabiola Muñoz, told EFE on Friday that the country seeks to diversify the export of agricultural products to China, during a three day visit to the country where a sanitary protocol requirement was inked that would allow the Andean country to export Quinoa to Chinese market.
Muñoz signed the agreement during a meeting in Beijing with the Chinese quality control authorities after seven years of negotiations, she said.
“This protocol will be a great opportunity and a great incentive for small Peruvian producers of the Andean region – Cusco, Puno, Ayacucho, Huancavelica and Arequipa,” the minister said, who wishes to begin the export the product this year itself.
Peru is currently the largest producer and exporter of Quinoa, a position it has held since 2014, when it knocked Bolivia off the top spot.
Bolivia began exporting Quinoa to China in December 2018.
On Tuesday, Muñoz met with the deputy agriculture minister of China, Li Jinxiang, to identify other products that can be exported and move forward in different cooperation projects.
“China has wide agricultural experience and one of the issues that we have discussed is the coming in of technical assistance. For example, here they make a lot of potato noodles, while in Peru, it is made of wheat, a product that we import. We can achieve an added value using their technology and reduce our dependency on wheat,” Muñoz said.
They also discussed cooperation in the fight against climate change and its aim of learning from China on the use of biodegradable materials to reduce the use of plastic and its efforts to reduce deforestation.
Muñoz also visited the China Potato Expo 2019, which is held every year, and presented the rich diversity of the tuber in the Andean country.
“We have a wide variety of potatoes – more than 3,000 genetic varieties – which makes us unique. Above all, we seek to export fresh potatoes and potato based products,” she said. “These could be sent to China precooked, frozen or processed into chips, puree, and other innovative presentations.”
Meanwhile, Peru and China continue negotiations on optimization of the Free Trade Agreement, signed in 2009, with the aim of improving facilities for small and medium exporters.
In June, the two countries concluded the second round of negotiations on FTA in Lima, leading to the growth at the rate of 9 percent annual average.
Peruvian exports to China went some 14 percent in 2018 and the nontraditional exports increased 17 percent.
Likewise, Peruvian imports from China reached an average annual growth of 13 percent last year, making the Asian country the biggest trade partner of the Andean country since 2014.
The bilateral trade surpassed $20 billion between January to November in 2018, some 15 more during the same period in the year before.
The negotiators are discussing issues related to the optimization of the sectors on rule of origin, customs matters, trade in services, investment, Intellectual Property and sanitary and phytosanitary measures.
During the first round held in Beijing, inclusion of new sections was discussed, such as, competition and E-Commerce.
In April, Peru joined the Belt and Road initiative, a multi million Chinese investment project at the global level, which has been joined by other Latin American countries as well.
Apart from China, Peru has free trade bilateral agreements with Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Canada, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Japan, Panama, the European Union and Venezuela.
Moreover, it also has agreements pending to come into force with Australia, Brazil and Guatemala and is negotiating others with India, Turkey and El Salvador.