The strength of the Peruvian economy has boosted the region’s overall economic confidence. It is further emboldened with the election last year of Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, the new president of Peru, who is known for his pro-business bent.

Defining the growing economic relations between India and Peru, Luis M Cabello, Economic and Commercial Counselor of Embassy of Peru in India, said in an e-mail interaction with Asha Ramachandran that the Commercial Office of Peru in India, an extension of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism of Peru, has the mission to promote export of Peruvian value-added products in Indian market, promote tourism, provide incentives for Indian investments in Peru and support Peruvian companies looking to internalize their activities in India.

Since the Commercial Office began its activities in India in March 2014, Peru has gone from a deficit in its trade balance two years ago, to a surplus. The trade balance between Peru and India, in 2016-2017 has increased substantially by 62.4 per cent. It saw a surplus of of US$ 1,184 million in Peruvian exports to India. This number represents a sharp rise in the Peruvian exports to India in the last five years. The quantity of Peruvian imports of Indian products has increased by 1.96 per cent, whereas the Peruvian exports in this period has increased by 112.5 per cent.

Mr Cabello described Peru and India as two economies which are complementary in nature, and thus, there is still a lot to do and a lot of scope for growth. Excerpts:

Peru has been voted the Best Emerging Destination (International) for 2018 by the readers of Lonely Planet Magazine India. Can you tell us more about the award?

It is a reflection of the changing tendencies of the Indian traveller. Peru has won this award twice in the last three years ~ 2016 and now in 2018. This is reflective of the increasing popularity of Peru in the Indian market. We are a niche destination for the Indian market and are fast becoming a favourite.

Finally, we are excited to maintain the title of the Best Emerging International Destination twice in the last three years since this is demonstrative of the upward trend beneficial for Peru. The number of Indian visitors travelling to Peru is also following this upward trend. According to the statistics received from the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (MINCETUR) of Peru, the Indian tourist arrivals in Peru has grown a record 36.9 per cent in the first two months of this year, in comparison to the same period in 2017. This award is a reflection of the latest trends in the Indian market.

What is the footfall of Indian visitors to Peru like? What is their response?

Last year more than 7,000 Indians travelled to Peru. Their response has been great. Earlier, Peru was always considered to be a part of a South American itinerary. However, we now have tourists opting for Peru as a stand-alone destination. The reason is thediversity in the destination, making it difficult to cover the place in short periods of time. Also, Peru has always been known for Machu Picchu, but now we see an upward trend on different types of tourism. For example, more and more Indians are travelling to indulge in adventure sports and also in eco-tourism given that more than 60 per cent of the country is covered by the Amazon forests. Gastronomy is another favourite for the Indian traveller, as Peru has been internationally recognised as the World’s Best Culinary Destination for six years in a row, including 2017, by World Travel Awards.

What is being done to woo Indian tourists?

Our campaigns are multi-pronged, focusing on both the B2B and the B2C segments. This helps us create both the offer and the demand simultaneously. We work with the best institutions in both the sectors. In the B2C segment, prestigious publications like National Geographic Traveler India, Conde Nast Traveller India, Outlook Traveller and Lonely Planet Magazine India have covered the beauty of Peru repeatedly and in the B2B segment, we recently participated at SATTE New Delhi with the first-ever Peruvian delegation of ten tour operators and other key partners of the tourism industry. The idea was to facilitate greater and swifter business between the operators of both countries.

Given the growing commercial relationship between Peru and India, what is being done to take it further?

A few years ago, the trade relations between Peru and India were relatively lower. I believe one of the reasons was the lack of information and potential that both the economies hold to turn into trade associates. The path we chose was to promote our products, but we never stopped educating the importers and consumers about the export products, which have entered the market and the benefits that these products bring to the Indian consumers. One example which comes to my mind is that of table grapes, which have found a really good market in India. Peru is today the second largest exporter of table grapes to India.

We will continue with our work to promote our exports in this market, and especially of demonstrating the benefits, which we can bring to the Indian companies, such as the generation of employment. We will continue to prove that we are complementary economies, which do not compete in their export products.

On the other hand, our governments are negotiating a trade agreement in order to facilitate the entry of goods and services, as well as investments. As the Commercial Office, we must support the requirements of our team of negotiators such that this agreement sees the light of the day and we are able to achieve a trade balance that surpasses the positive tendency maintained till date between both the countries.

What are the areas that need improvement?

The agricultural, food and beverage sectors are very important for us because of the number of job positions created by these activities in our country. We need to work hard to facilitate the access of Peruvian products to the Indian market, because we are really rich in some export products that could be suitable and convenient for the Indian market.

But, we are also looking to increase our exports of other sectors such as mining (Peru in one of the world’s largest exporters of minerals like gold, copper and silver), metal manufactures, leather and agribusiness (raw materials for the India industry).

Don’t you think India and Peru need to increase the exchange of high-level visits to enhance trade and commercial relations?

My response to a question of this nature will always be positive. Visits by our authorities help us strengthen the bonds of faith and trust in the economies and businessmen. Finally it is the public sector, which facilitates the actions of the companies and effectively helps in the functioning of the generation of wellbeing of a country. In Peru, we do not have companies of the public sector involved with the market. A large majority of the business is generated from the private sector. But, it is the appropriate macro-economic policies that are instrumental in making Peru one of the major economies of Latin America. A high-level visit is always accompanied by a trade mission, which looks to build business opportunities that are mutually beneficial to both countries. These missions help to increase the levels of trade exchange, of goods, services, tourism as well as investments.

What are the major exports from India to Peru and vice-versa?

Our main exports are gold, copper, calcium phosphates, acrylic fibers, fresh fruits, coffee, cacao, precious and semi-precious stones, machinery and aluminum. Indian exports to Peru are automobiles and motorcycles, cotton, plastic and articles derived from plastics, iron and steel, pharmaceutical products, organic chemicals, apparel and clothing accessories, rubber and rubber articles.