China, Peru Sign Free Trade Deal

[2009-05-14 16:02:11]

China and Peru on Tuesday signed a free trade agreement(FTA) in Beijing, capping over-a-year-long negotiations and legal processes.

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping and his Peruvian counterpart Luis Giampietri Rojas witnessed the signing ceremony in Beijing, with both hailing the deal "a new landmark" in bilateral ties.

"China-Peru agreement is the first FTA package China has signed with a Latin American country,"the Chinese Commerce Ministry.

After 14 months of negotiations, China and Peru concluded their free trade talks in November 2008, followed by some legal processes in both countries.

"With the global financial crisis looming, the China-Peru deal sends a positive message of deepening cooperation and tiding over difficulties," said Zhu Hong, deputy director general of the International Department of the Chinese Commerce Ministry.

The pact is China's second in Latin America, following an accord with Chile in 2005.

"The China-Peru FTA is a comprehensive deal, covering goods, service, investment and other fields while the accord with Chile deals with goods only," Zhu said. A complementary deal on service trade was signed with Chile in 2008.

"The pact features a high degree of openness," Zhu said, citing phased, free tariffs on more than 90 percent of goods ranging from China's electronic products and machinery to Peru's fish powder and minerals.

Under the deal, both pledged to further open their service sectors and offer national treatment to investors from the other country.

China and Peru also reached agreement on intellectual property, trade rescue, customs procedures and other fields.

The official said the pact would play an important role in helping both nations deal with global financial foes and boosting their own economies.

Trade between the two countries reached 7.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2008, according to Chinese customs authority.
The FTA deal is likely to come into force in early 2010, Zhu said.

Since the beginning of the decade, Beijing has vigorously pursued free trade agreements. So far, China has signed FTA deals with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Chile, Pakistan, New Zealand, Singapore and Peru.

China is also in free trade talks with Australia, the Gulf Cooperation Council, Iceland, Norway and Costa Rica, among others.

Source: Xinhua
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