The first steps have been taken by Nicaragua and Peru to negotiate a free trade agreement (FTA), announced both trade ministers; Mr. Orlando Solórzano, Minister for Development, Industry and Trade for Nicaragua and Claudia Cornejo, Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism from Peru.
Cornejo was excited about the prospects of the agreement being finalized as it will “allow us to boost export activity, which is so necessary for the economic reactivation of our country”.
There will be a busy agenda for the first round of talks from May 10th to the 18th, 2021 which will be held as “Virtual Meetings”. There are fourteen separate sub groups all working on their particular area of specialism, for examples; market access, rules of origin, sanitary measures, services, movement of people, electronic commerce, investment and cooperation, among others.
Both sides predict that it will take several rounds to funnel the language of the proposed agreement into a firm Nicaragua and Peru Free Trade agreement that will boost trade and cooperation which has been lacking for some time. Cornejo lamented that in 2020 trade between Peru, the third largest country in South America and Nicaragua, the biggest country in Central America only reached US $32 million.
In 2019, Peru’s largest export trading partner was China. Peru sent US $13.16 billion merchandise to the Asian country who sent US $10.26 billion of goods to Peru, a positive balance of US $2.9 billion. Peru’s second best export customer was the USA with US $5.55 billion, followed by Canada with US C$2.4 billion.
Here in Nicaragua, the Association of Producers and Exporters of Nicaragua (APEN) like the idea of the FTA and see it as an opportunity for both nations. In particular and through Peru, there is great potential for Nicaragua to access the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI), thereby entering other markets in South America. The ALADI Group in South America represents countries with a combined population of 510 million people