Peruvian Vice President Luis Giampietri said on Wednesday that the official visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao to Peru "is of great importance" to his country.
Giampietri, also serving as chairman of the High-Level Extraordinary Commission (HLEC) of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC), said in an interview with Chinese journalists that the Chinese president will stay in Lima for five days, and both countries are likely to sign a bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
Giampietri said that this is the first time ever that a Chinese president visits Peru after the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations.
"Our (Peruvian) president (Alan Garcia) is pleased to have a direct exchange of opinions with him (Hu)."
"President Garcia, Foreign Minister Jose Garcia Belaunde, Exterior Commerce and Tourism Minister Mercedes Araoz are working insistently on an FTA with China, which is expected to be signed with Hu during his visit," he said.
According to Giampietri, Chinese investments in Peru have increased significantly in the last two years, especially in mining, fishing, agriculture and tourism.
The China-Peru bilateral trade volume continues to grow and is around 5 billion U.S. dollars this year, and the amount could be increased even more with an FTA.
Peru and Peruvians respect China and Chinese people for the success they have achieved during the last 30 years, which has made China "a main player in the world economy".
"The Peruvians feel proud to have Hu's visit. During the last 160 years, the Chinese community in Peru and their offspring have taught us wise lessons of austerity, diligence and honesty," Giampietri said.
"In our culture, the customs, traditions and values of the long and always valid Chinese civilization are kept," he further said, adding that in Peru, Chinese food is part of the national gastronomy.
During the interview, Giampietri also thanked the Chinese government for having donated 64 deluxe vehicles for the 18 dignitaries of the 21 APEC economies that have confirmed their attendance.
Only Indonesia and Malaysia have not yet confirmed whether to attend the 16th APEC Leaders Summit.
The HLEC-APEC spared no efforts to guarantee the security of the visitors, as well as to provide them with a friendly climate, Giampietri said when referring to the security of the world leaders during their stay in Peru.
The vice president also said that during his country's preparation for hosting the APEC Summit, 121 meetings of senior officials, businessmen, Vice Minister and Ministers level of the APEC in several cities were organized.
"There are other eight meetings scheduled for Nov. 16 - 23, first a high-level officers', then Ministers', then Foreign Ministers' and finally leaders'," he told reporters.
During these meetings, issues like the international financial crisis, cooperation and regional integration, climate change, indiscriminate hikes of fuel and food prices will be discussed so as to draft the Lima Declaration, Giampietri said.