SYDNEY – Australia and Peru will begin negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement, trade ministers of the two countries said on Wednesday, following a meeting in Canberra, during which they signed several accords.
Peruvian minister Eduardo Ferreyros told EFE the first round of discussion will take place in Peru’s capital Lima, from July 5-7.
“We hope to make rapid progress because we are basically complementary economies and the idea of this pact is to deepen trade and investment ties between our countries,” he added.
The minister said the agreement will include exchange of goods and services, investments and government procurement, and will help Peru access the Australian market for its agricultural products and textiles.
“We hope to conclude the negotiations smoothly and within a short period of time,” he added.
Australian trade minister Steve Ciobo said in a statement Canberra wants a comprehensive agreement with Lima, including removal of high tariffs on Australian exports to Peru.
Peru imposes a levy of 17 percent on beef exports, and 29 percent on dairy and sugar exports from Australia.
Australia is also keen on exporting services in sectors such as mining, finance, education, health and tourism, he said.
Trade between the two countries was worth around $375 million in the 2015-2016 fiscal year, a rise of 19.4 percent with respect to the previous year, according to the statement.
Meanwhile, the two ministers also signed agreements in the fields of immigration and transport.
The first one will allow young people to work in each other’s country for a period of one year during holidays.
According to the Peruvian minister, the transport agreement will include direct air services between Peru and Australia.
Ferreyros had arrived in Australia after visiting China, Vietnam and Indonesia.