LIMA Ė Spainís foreign minister had a working session with a number of top executives of Spanish companies operating in Peru at the start of his visit to Lima, one of the stops on his first tour of Latin America since taking office.
After Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastisís meeting with the business executives at the residence of the Spanish ambassador in Lima, he met with his Peruvian counterpart, Ricardo Luna, to analyze the state of bilateral relations.
Also attending the meeting were some 20 top executives and the Spanish ambassador to Peru, Ernesto de Zulueta.
The business leaders and the minister exchanged impressions about the situation of the economy in Peru, where Spain is the biggest source of foreign investment (19 percent of the total), with some 400 companies established here.
The Spanish government considers its economic relations with the Andean nation ďstable, strong and growing,Ē aided as it is by political stability in recent years and the legal protection companies enjoy here, according to Peruís Foreign Ministry.
The Peruvian economy last year grew by 3.9 percent, and for the current fiscal year is projected to be up another 4 percent to continue almost 20 years of positive growth.
Such favorable results have allowed Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, in power since last July, to continue the large investment projects and public works launched by his predecessor, Ollanta Humala, some of them related to the Panamerican Games that Lima will host in 2019.
Spanish companies see a good chance to increase their presence in Peru, where they are already taking part in some of the major projects underway, such as the modernization of the Talara refinery, the nationís largest, the expansion of the Lima subway system and the Southern Peru gas pipeline.
Something that Spain does want to correct, however, is the unfavorable trade balance Ė $1.55 billion (1.45 billion euros) in purchases from Peru compared with $633 million in sales to the South American country.
To help close that gap, the Spanish government plans to make a new effort toward an agreement that would end double taxation, something that has been pending for about 10 years.
Also on the trip to Peru with Spainís foreign minister is the director general of taxation, Alberto Garcia Varela.