Lopatka: "Economic boom in Peru opens up opportunities for closer cooperation"
Great interest in Austrian tourism and urban development expertise
Lima, 24 January 2013 – State Secretary Reinhold Lopatka paid a working visit to Peru before the summit of the EU and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (EU-CELAC) in Chile.
His meeting with Deputy Minister of Trade Carlos Posada revolved around business topics. "Peru has been enjoying continuous growth at rates of between 5 and 10 percent for the past 14 years, and has turned into a promising market for Austria’s exporting industry. Austrian exports to Peru doubled from 2011 to 2012 and have exceeded the 100 million euro threshold. Now is the right time to deepen our contacts to this booming Andean state", Lopatka said.
Both sides agreed that the free trade agreement of the EU with Peru, which will soon enter into force, will mean further intensification of trade between the two countries. "I pushed for taking up negotiations about a bilateral double-taxation agreement in order to make the conditions for Austrian companies even more appealing. We hope that this will make the entry to the Peruvian market more interesting for Austrian companies", Lopatka said after his meetings at the Ministry of Trade and with the Chairman of the Commission for Foreign Trade and Tourism at the Congress, Luciana Milagros León. Some 80 Austrian companies are currently represented in Peru with subsidiaries and representative offices. "Tourism and urban development are the areas offering the most opportunities for us. There is a concrete interest on the part of Peru to step up cooperation with Austria in these fields, for example in the construction of cable cars and in public transport. We could drive the dialogue in this area forward with a memorandum on tourism and economic relations", the State Secretary continued.
There are also some issues in the multilateral sphere where Austria and Peru could move things forward together. "The fight against drugs and corruption ranks high in the list of priorities of Peru. With the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA), Vienna can offer a lot of expertise in this field. I campaigned for a speedy ratification of the IACA Agreement with both government representatives and the Peruvian Parliament", Lopatka said.
In his meeting with the Director of the UNODC office, Flavio Mirella, the State Secretary learned about the implementation of programmes for promoting alternative cultivation. "To ensure sustained success in the fight against the production of drugs, it is important that small coca and cocaine farmers change their production to legal products such as cocoa, coffee and palm oil; this is an effective and successful approach. This is why it is important that we provide financial support to these UNODC projects in Peru and other Andean countries."
The State Secretary also signed a Memorandum of Understanding on political consultations with Deputy Foreign Minister José Beraún-Araníbar. "With this agreement we are providing a mechanism for regular political dialogue on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues. All my talks here in Lima showed that the potential for cooperation with Peru is far from being exhausted. We have increased our staffing of the Embassy in Lima and together with the Office of the Austrian Economic Chamber, we have a solid network for more economic and political involvement", Lopatka concluded.
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