Five meetings in one day. If we discovered anything about Peruvian wheat importers, millers and officials, it's that they are eager to do business with the world. And, American wheat producers have solid relationships to build upon when trading their products to this country.
Our Thursday morning (3/28) began with a breakfast meeting with Eugene Philhower, the agricultural attache for the U.S. Embassy in Peru. Philhower explained that Peruvians have a high consumption of pasta for Latin America, and they also have a diverse diet that includes rice and potatoes. Most importantly, though, Peruvians are including trying to include more traditional Peruvian breads in their diets.
The Peruvian Free Trade Agreement with the United States, Philhower said, is on its way to implementation. In the coming months the Peruvian Ministry will be wrapping up the implementation process. The agreement, which Philhower had a hand in negotiating, was embraced by most of the Peruvian agricultural industry.
"On the coast, where it's more of a desert and growers use water management to turn the desert into asparagus and avacado, dairy and grape production, the economy is booming," Philhower said. "In the Highlands, where it's more subsistence agriculture with local producers growing potatoes, corn and trees, many fought this ag agreement tooth and nail."
In the end, though, the agreement is a done deal and the country is preparing for implementation by reviewing and updating its own legislation, as well as updating its infrastructure. Peru is also working to comply with requirements for intelectual property rights protection, which should be implemented by July 1. The goal is to have everything in place by Jan 1, 2009.
"The advantage of trading agricultural products with Peru is that it brings a stable economy to foreign investors," Philhower said. Local growers can plan ahead and predictability in the market is good for them as well as for the country in general, he explained.