Peru has had a trade deficit for the past few decades, with exports reaching US$6.7 billion (2000 estimate) and imports of US$7.4 billion (2000 estimate). The trade gap has narrowed since 1997, as the country has fallen deeper into recession and imports have declined. The United States is Peru's largest trading partner, absorbing 25 percent of the country's exports (1997). It is followed by China (8 percent, mainly minerals and fishmeal) and Japan (7 percent, mainly minerals). The United States is also the largest source of imports, representing 19 percent of goods. Other important sources for imports are Colombia (6 percent), Venezuela (5 percent), Chile (4 percent), and Brazil (4 percent). Major exports include fish products, minerals (gold, silver, copper, zinc, lead), agricultural products (coffee, asparagus), petroleum products, and textiles. Major imports include machinery, transportation equipment, food (wheat, corn, rice), petroleum, medical equipment, and iron and steel.
Peru is a founding member of the Andean Community of Nations, which groups together Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Venezuela. Peru has had difficulties with the group, and, under Fujimori, threatened to pull out. The Andean group has joined forces to lobby for an extension of ATPA and all nations are flirting with Brazil to test the possibility of adjunct membership in the Southern Cone Common Market (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay).
The incoming government promises to move the country away from raw material exports as a way of stimulating other industries and generating a trade surplus within 5 years. The emphasis will be on textiles, agroindustry (principally "niche" crops like asparagus where Peru has a comparative advantage because of climate), and fossil fuels. The massive Camisea natural gas fields,
|Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Peru|
|SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.|
located in the south-central jungle region, should be completed within 3 years, giving Peru an energy surplus it hopes to export to Ecuador and Chile and possibly Brazil by hooking into a Bolivian natural gas pipeline already sending fuel to Brazil.