Peru: TPP could help get access issues on the table, says Camposol exec
An executive from a leading Peruvian produce company believes it is highly likely his country will ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, which could be a potential boost for market access arrangements.
During the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Fresh Summit held in Atlanta last month, Camposol Trading CEO José Antonio Gómez said the TPP would hopefully do more than just helping to lower tariffs for Peruvian exporters.
"Definitely the TPP will help us to reduce tariffs in the Asian countries, because with the U.S. for example we already have a free trade agreement and we don't pay taxes on agricultural commodities," he said during the workshop session 'Beyond the Acronyms: Trade Agreements, Global Opportunities & You'.
"Normally, agreements like TPP by themselves won’t solve the phytosanitary issues, but they will give you a priority or a different table for conversation."
He said the ratification of free trade agreements often depended on the political and economic momentum the countries involved were experiencing.
"In Peru we are right about to have elections. Peru, like many emerging markets has had the economy slowing down," he said.
"This is the right momentum where the political community will push forward to get this signed. I think it would be very delicate timing for them to say 'no'.
"What we seen in this recipe of success is that free trade agreements have worked very well for us in terms of increasing exports and having better trade balances with other countries, so I think we’ll have a positive action."
In terms of the specifics of trade with TPP countries, Gómez highlighted Peru was negotiating access for avocados in Japan, and that Malaysia would be a great market for lowering tariffs on vegetable exports.
Outside of the TPP players, Peru has recently gained access to China for its avocados and is pushing for blueberry access in the same market.
On another note, a key topic of conversation during the workshop was how the U.S.'s trading partners would adapt to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). For Gómez, technological progress would be key for the produce industry in keeping up with changing regulations around the world.
"Everybody exporting to the U.S., to Europe, to China, has to deal with this limited amount of talent and resources available at the government agencies that are going through the process of inspecting the product," he said.
"Definitely we will need to apply more technology to make these processes faster with less people, because trade is growing; it's not going in the opposite direction.
"And at the same time resources, when it comes to budgets, are getting smaller and smaller."