Time for a new Sino-Peru multidisciplinary matrix

By Juan Carlos Capuñay Source:Global Times Published: 2017/11/5 5:03:40

Peruvian Ambassador to China, Juan Carlos Capuñay Photo: Courtesy of the Peruvian Embassy in Beijing


The bilateral relationship between Peru and China has transcended the framework of its economic scope to move toward a political context of mutual understanding and mutual benefit. Peru established its diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China in 1971 although it had been linked with the Celestial Empire since 1874. Peru has the largest Chinese community in Latin America and the second largest in the Western Hemisphere. China is Peru's first trading partner, first mining investor and one of the main partners in Peru's other productive sectors.

Nowadays, bilateral relations with Peru are guided by four main instruments: the Free Trade Agreement signed in 2010, the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership signed in 2013, the Strategic Economic Dialogue Committee set up in 2015, and the Bilateral Agenda for Development for the five-year period between 2016 and 2021. Peru is the only country in Latin America that has these four instruments that govern China's foreign policy with others.

China is Peru's main market. In the commercial arena, Peru is China's leading copper supplier and the leading producer of silver, gold, zinc and cadmium in Latin America. In the agro-industry, Peru is the first supplier of green asparagus to the Chinese market, the second in grapes and the third in Hass avocados and enjoys a prominent place among suppliers of mangoes and blueberries. In the fisheries sector, Peru is the main supplier of fishmeal worldwide and will soon have a protocol that will allow the sale of prawns.

The Comprehensive Strategic Partnership takes into consideration four spaces for relationship development. One is economic complementarity for trade and investment purposes. Another is a scheme for the reciprocal transfer of technology and experiences. The third is creating a regional framework through its participation in APEC, promotion of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) and sharing in efforts to project the Belt and Road Initiative in Latin America through a Digital Silk Road. Finally, there is its people-to-people policy that has given rise to manifestations of a Chinese-Peruvian culture, which is unique in the world.

The Strategic Economic Dialogue Committee serves as a catalyst for private sector initiatives and the efforts of both governments to establish a stable, thematically driven and mutually beneficial business environment for their economies and peoples. In its last meeting, 18 investment projects were approved, all of which are already in their development and implementation stage.

The 2016 to 2021 Action Plan sets out the roadmap for political, economic and social initiatives in the different spheres of bilateral relations. For both countries, the period of 2016 to 2021 is very important. Peru will celebrate the bicentennial of its independence, and China will celebrate the centenary of the founding of the Communist Party in 2021.

This relationship scheme is the result of a permanent spirit of rapprochement and exchange at the highest political level, based on a genuine desire for cooperation, reciprocal support and sincere friendship. For example, the President of Peru made his first official visit outside the country to the People's Republic of China right after assuming his mandate in July 2016, which was an unusual gesture in Peruvian politics, as normally the head of state would not leave for official visits until after six months in power. In return, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Peru in November of that year as part of his participation in the APEC summit. So, within three months, both heads of state visited each other, despite the geographical distance that separates both countries.

It is now the time to establish a new bond, a multidisciplinary matrix for bilateral relations. It should favor private initiatives, define the ruling role of government institutions and be a road map to promoting a new bilateral development that will give a response to the demands of the 21st century. Since the presence of the Shang Dynasty (C.1600-1046BC), almost 4,000 years ago to date, Peru and China have had a history of approaching each other. At the same time, we share a will to turn our efforts into comprehensive and effective policies, which makes both governments into development partners. This new approach could go further beyond the existing bilateral framework to touch the Asia-Pacific region as a whole.

The author of this article is the Peruvian Ambassador to China.


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