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Peruvian vice president says relationship with China "priority"

(Xinhua)    13:21, November 12, 2016

Peruvian Second Vice President Mercedes Araoz has said that her country's relationship with China is a "priority."

Araoz made the remarks in a recent interview with Xinhua ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's upcoming visit to Peru, during which he will attend the 24th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting from Nov. 19 to 20 in Peru's capital Lima.

According to Araoz, since the free trade agreement (FTA) between Peru and China came into force in 2010, "relations have been solid with many reciprocal advantages seen in commerce, investments and culture. This is due to the existence of historical and economic affinities as well as transparent and fluid dialogue."

She said that bilateral cooperation is crucial in strengthening relations and boosting economic growth. This cooperation has been highlighted by the visit of Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski to China in September and by the upcoming visit by President Xi to Lima.

"President Kuczynski seeks to take up opportunities to learn from each other. Both cultures can see they are unique because they have millennial histories while having remained brothers for many years," said the vice president, adding that Kuczynski and Xi will inject new impetus into bilateral relations.

On investment, Araoz said China was particularly interested in infrastructure in Peru, such as roads and railways, as well as carrying out mining projects with refineries meeting high environmental levels, as well as exploring manufacturing and services opportunities.

Araoz, who served as minister of foreign commerce and tourism from 2006 to 2009, recalled the process of negotiating the FTA between China and Peru.

"The Chinese side was very open to taking many of our proposals on board. For example, the customs treaty is a part of the trade deal, which involved things that China has had difficulty in granting to other countries. But they gave it to us. They also gave us investment concessions they do not normally give," said Araoz.

"I think they did give us preferential treatment, which turned it into a space of friendship and familiarity," she added.

Araoz, however, said that Peru and China still have work to do in areas such as intellectual property, which both countries see as important.

On the APEC summit, which will be held in Lima for the second time in November, Araoz said that all is going well, concerning the organization, logistics and security, as well as the agenda itself.

"This is the time to discuss sustainable development. The agenda therefore covers all topics ranging from food security, human capital, and better integration," she said. "While there are certain differences in terms of the agenda we have yet to reconcile, we are continuously getting closer. We also incorporated the role of small and medium enterprises in global value chains, where there are many similarities."

She also explained how these topics would be wide-ranging. For example, the topic of food security will include a discussion on how to stimulate more opportunities in rural areas, including opening businesses, removing tariffs and improving education.

Araoz also said that China is seen within APEC as being able to contribute a lot thanks to its fast growth and technological development.

"China has a history of having developed commercial agreements with its peers. Therefore, we think we can work very closely together," she said.

Dialogue with other institutions will take place at APEC, including one between APEC members and the Pacific Alliance -- a Latin American trade bloc comprised of Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru -- and another with Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Zhang Tianrui, Bianji)

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