Peru and Australia sign free trade pact

Peru and Australia signed a free trade pact Nov. 10 that does away with 99% of tariffs on imported goods from Australia, while securing Peruvian exports greater access to Australian markets. The Peru-Australia Free Trade Agreement (PAFTA) was signed in Danang, Vietnam, at the 25th summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (PPK) announced the deal on Twitter, boasting that the agreement will boost employment and attract investment. Speaking at the APEC summit, PPK reiterated his support for free trade and warned about the dangers of protectionism.

The deal emerges from five months of talks and underscores Peru's support of free trade, in spite of the collapse of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the growing popularity of protectionist policies–most notably, those of the Donald Trump administration.

Peru has entered into bilateral agreements under the APEC framework with China, Vietnam and Japan. With a growth of 3.9% in 2016, Peru was Latin America's fastest growing economy at the start of 2017. GDP growth has since been recovering after devastating floods and a corruption scandal. Still, the government predicts a growth rate of 4.2% for 2018. (Peru Reports, Nov. 10)