China and Peru relations after 41 years of diplomatic links and three
years of a FTA
Carlos Aquino Rodríguez*
On November 2nd, 2012 Peru and China celebrated forty one years of modern
diplomatic relations. On March 1st, 2013 it was the third anniversary since the Free
Trade Area, FTA, agreement between the two countries entered into effect. Much has
been achieved in those years. China became in 2011 the biggest trade partner of Peru,
over the United States, which was the traditional dominant partner, and given present
perspectives that position will continue in the future.
As China economy is the second largest in the world and continues growing at high
rates, its need for raw materials from Peru will continue, but Peru expectations is that
ever more affluent consumers in China will also buy value added goods from Peru.
Peru has a longer history of relations with China. In this paper first, a look to those old
relations is given; second, there is a review of the present state of economic relations;
third, the perspectives of those relations with the FTA in force are outlined; fourth,
some features of Chinese culture influence in Peru are outlined; and last some
conclusions are given.
1. Peru and China old relationship
The first contact between these countries began in 1849, when Chinese immigrants
began coming to Peru. From that year up to 1872 around 100,000 Chinese came to Peru,
mostly from the southern part, in present day Guangdong province. At that time Peru
needed labor force to work mainly in the sugar cane and cotton plantations along its
coast line. There was scarcity of labor because the laborers working there until that
time, mainly black people brought before as slaves by the Spaniards from the XVI
century, were given freedom in 1845 (abolition of slavery) and most of them left the
fields for the cities.
Peru became the first country in Latin America to receive Chinese immigration in a
large scale. China has been opened by force by England in 1840 after the Opium War
and some of its people began leaving the country.
But Chinese immigration to Peru came to a sudden halt for an incident in one of the
ships carrying them to Peru. In 1872 the Peruvian ship “Maria Luz”, during a stop in the
port of Yokohama, Japan, suffered the desertion of one Chinese on board. He escaped
throwing himself into the sea, where he was rescued by the crew of a British warship in
the port. He complained of mistreatment in the Peruvian ship. In fact, in the long
journey from China to Peru, conditions of the travel were so harsh that sometimes more
than one third of the human cargo died in the way1
After the British captain of the warship complained to Japanese authorities, they ordered
the Peruvian ship and the laborers to return to China. After that the Qing Imperial
Government forbade Chinese immigration to Peru.
Fernando de Trazegnies: “En el pais de las colinas de arenas”, Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru,
1995. There is a Chinese translation of the book, done in the year 2000
Because of this incident China and Peru began negotiations to have official contacts,
and in 1874 diplomatic links were established.
From 1990s onward again more Chinese have immigrated to Peru. Peru now is home to
the largest Chinese community in Latin America.
Peru became in 1874 the first Latin American country to establish diplomatic relations
with China. After a hiatus, on November 2th 1971 diplomatic relations between both
countries were established again.
During the 1990s economic relations began to increase. In 1993 the amount of Peruvian
exports to China was only of 140 million dollars, but in 2003 they reached 676 million
dollars. In the same period imports from China increased from 90 million dollars to 646
million dollars. See table 1.
Peru became in 1998 a member of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum,
APEC, joining China and other Asian economies in this important organization and
making possible closer relations between the two countries. In 2009 a FTA agreement
was signed between them and entered into effect the following year. In 2011 China
became the largest trade partner of Peru. Exports to China reached 6,961 million dollars
and imports were 6,321 million dollars that year. In the year 2012 trade with China keep
increasing (even if Peru exports to the world did not increase) and exports to that
country amounted to 7,692 million dollars with imports valued at 7,795 million dollars.
2. State of economic relations
As we have seen, trade, and in general economic relations between Peru and China
increased during the last two decades. The reasons for this were the following: First,
after Peru suffered a long period of economic stagnation and political instability, in
1990 the new government introduced economic reforms that opened the economy to
foreign trade and investment, and at the same time political stability was attained. So the
economy began to grow again. See Graphic 1. Second, China need for raw materials
began to increase in that period and so Peruvian exports to China, that are, most of
them, even now in more than 95%, raw materials, mainly minerals. And also Chinese
investment in Peru began. In the 1990s a process of selling state owned companies to
foreign investors began and the first to be sold was the mining company exploiting iron
ore, Hierro Peru, which was bought by Shougang Corporation of China (one of the first
biggest purchases of a foreign company by a Chinese firm outside Asia). Third, the
same decade of the 1990s the Peruvian government began putting emphasis in the
establishment and strengthening of relations with Asian countries, and as a result in
1998 Peru became a member of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, APEC;
and Forth, Peru signed in the year 2009 a FTA agreement with China that came into
effect in March 1st 2010.
Graphic 1: Peru Gross Domestic Product growth, 1992-2012 (annual growth average)
Source: Peru National Statistics Institute http://www.inei.gob.pe/perucifrasHTM/inf-eco/cuadro.asp?
China is important for Peruvian economic growth. As we will see below, our exports
have increased to China more than to any country in the last 20 years, prices of the
primary goods that Peru sells are high because of China strong demand, and also cheap
manufactured goods from China have helped improve the living standards of many
Peruvians, especially of poor people.
Peru’s Minister of Economy Mr. Luis Castilla said on October 2011 that he “prays
every day” for China economy to continue growing at high rates because that way Peru
will benefit from that2
. If China economy reduces its pace of growth there will be less
demand for Peru raw materials, prices, of specially minerals, will decrease, exports will
decrease and the country will be greatly affected. Peru is now more dependent of
foreign demand. In 1993 exports represented only 12% of Peru GDP, in the year 2010 it
was 23%. In the year 2012 Peru exports to China represented around 17% of the total,
and several products, like minerals, are exported mainly to China.
Actually China is the biggest market for Peruvian exports. China buys most of the iron
ore, copper, zinc, fishmeal, lead, tin, that Peru sells abroad. And China is the second
source of imports, after the U.S. and most of the textiles and garments imported by Peru
came from China as are also toys, footwear, electrical appliances and most of the
consumer goods, and increasingly cars. See Table 1.
Table 1: Peru main trade partners in the last three years, in million dollars
Country 2010 2010 2011 2011 2012 2012
See “Gestion” newspaper, October 3th, 2011: http://gestion.pe/noticia/1312136/castilla-peru-reza-que-
Exports Imports Exports Imports Exports Imports
1. China 5,436 5,140 6,963 6,325 7,692 7,795
2. United States 6,087 5,811 5,903 7,350 6,032 7,921
3. Switzerland 3,845 118 5,937 150 5,062 154
4. Canada 3,329 539 4,232 583 3,358 588
Source: Peru’s Customs Office:
Table 2: Exports from Peru to mains partners in Asia members of APEC (in million dollars)
Country/Economy 1993 1997 2003 2006 2008 2010 2011 2012
World Total 3,344.40 6,741.75 8,939.82 23,431.43 31,162.75 35,073.25 45,636.0 45,228.6
Australia 14.99 16.31 53.12 38.25 79.81 117.5 115.3 98.7
South Korea 59.36 91.50 176.34 545.27 551.69 894.9 1,694.9 1,527.4
China 140.84 490.06 676.96 2,267.27 3,737.24 5,425.9 6,961.4 7,692.4
Hong Kong 28.60 68.82 30.31 42.14 54.21 78.5 92.5 94.9
Japan 299.04 473.57 391.16 1,229.76 1,853.18 1,790.4 2,174.8 2,576.2
New Zeeland 1.50 - 3.72 7.59 12.60 13.5 18.4 25.5
Russia 9.90 9.48 14.18 25.61 21.74 57.9 79.5 85.1
Taiwan 118.78 159.11 147.28 415.03 596.11 293.0 368.8 260.9
Source: Peru’s Customs Office:
As we see in Table 2, Peru exports have increased a lot since the country began its
economic reforms and opened the country to foreign trade and investment. From 1993
to 2012 exports leaped from 3.3 billion dollars to 45.2 billion dollars, nearly 14 times
more. But exports to China in the same period increased from 140 million dollars to
7.69 billion dollars, around 55 times.
Table 3: Main products exported to China, 2012
Product Million of dollars
Total amount 7,692.4
1. Copper ore 3,415.6
2. Fishmeal 885.5
3. Iron ore 852.7
4. Lead 805.7
5. Copper Cathode 684.1
6. Copper “Blister” 223.3
Source: Peru’s Customs Office:
Peru buys a lot of Chinese goods because China sells cheap manufactured goods thanks
to its cheap labor force. Products that Peru bought before from Japan, and after that
from South Korea (and also from Taiwan), like electrical appliances and cars, are now
being sourced from China.
In fact Japan companies and South Korean companies moved their factories to China
and from that place their export to the whole world and to Peru. But in the last year’s
Chinese companies are selling more in the Peruvian market. Imports from China have
increased more than from any other country. As we see in Table 4, Peru in 1993 bought
Chinese goods for 90 million dollars, but last year 2012 it bought nearly 7.8 billion
dollars, around 87 times more. Peru total imports in those years increased from 4 billion
dollars to nearly 40 billion dollars, an increase of only 10 times.
Table 4: Peru imports from main partners in Asia members of APEC (on million dollars) (CIF)
1993 1997 2003 2004 2007 2010 2011 2012
4,024.5 7,716.9 8,428.5 10,111.4 20,464.2 29,879.5 37,699.0 39,911.8
Australia 17.3 33.0 28.1 46.8 67.5 75.0 110.6 133.1
99.4 230.2 277.7 296.5 522.3 1,044.2 1,490.6 1,647.4
China 90.4 195.9 646.5 767.9 2,474.2 5,115.3 6,321.5 7,795.7
12.2 17.0 15.1 21.9 16.5 22.8 15.7 20.6
Japan 303.6 417.9 367.4 358.8 790.3 1,366.9 1,307.1 1,499.3
45.9 - 16.2 23.3 22.4 56.4 67.8 119.0
Russia 15.2 21.9 56.3 44.7 136.3 183.4 513.2 334.3
Taiwan 60.1 112.0 133.5 151.1 258.4 327.8 439.7 461.5
Source: Peru’s Customs Office:
Table 5: Main products imported from China, 2012
Product Millions of dollars (fob)
1. Mobile phones 525.9
2. Data Processing Machinery 417.7
3. Motorcycles 151.2
4. Vehicles 100.3
5. Phone equipment 90.2
6. Footwear 79.3
Source: Peru’s Customs Office:
That fact, of China being a big market for Peruvian exports, and a big source of cheap
goods were the reasons behind the idea for of achieving a FTA with China and this will
be seen in detail below.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) to Peru began to increase from the year 1990. At the
end of that year the stock of FDI was only 1.2 billion dollars and at the end of year 2012
the stock of FDI was 22.6 billion dollars3
But according to statistics by the Central Bank of Peru, that takes into account not only
new addition of capital but the reinvestment done by foreign companies, the total stock
of FDI in Peru at the end of 2012 was 63.4 billion dollars. See Graphic 2
Graphic 2: Stock of FDI in Peru, million dollars
According to Proinversion.
China investment in Peru was nil up to 1992. That year, Shougang Corporation (首钢集
团) bought the state company Hierro Peru that exploits iron. It was the first big sale of a
Peruvian state company after the government began in 1990 a process of economic
reforms and opening of the economy to foreign investment.
China interest in securing sources of raw material was the reason behind its decision to
buy the Peruvian company. It was one of the first biggest investments by a Chinese state
company of a foreign asset. Shougang paid around 120 million dollars for that. The
mine that Shougang bought is the only one that produces iron ore in Peru.
During the 1990s, after that big investment there was no other from China that decade,
but from the last one China investment again became active in Peru. As Table 6 shows,
now China ranks as the 10th biggest source of foreign investment in Peru. At the end of
2012 its total stock of investment was 796.48 million dollars according to Proinversion,
the Peruvian government agency that records foreign investment.
Table 6: Stock of FDI in Peru by country of origin, million dollars
Cuadro N° 2
STOCK DE APORTES AL CAPITAL POR PAÍS DE ORIGEN
País 2012 % % Acumulado
España 4,818.57 21.25% 21.25%
EE.UU. 3,012.47 13.29% 34.54%
Sudáfrica 1,740.17 7.67% 42.21%
Chile 1,643.90 7.25% 49.46%
Brasil 1,334.91 5.89% 55.35%
Reino Unido 1/ 1,314.93 5.80% 61.15%
Canada 1,276.23 5.63% 66.78%
Suiza 934.65 4.12% 70.90%
México 897.90 3.96% 74.86%
China 796.48 3.51% 78.37%
Italia 733.51 3.23% 81.61%
Colombia 569.32 2.51% 84.12%
Países Bajos 2/ 486.39 2.15% 86.26%
Japón 436.79 1.93% 88.19%
Noruega 402.82 1.78% 89.97%
Otros 2,275.31 10.03% 100.00%
TOTAL 22,674.35 100.00%
*Stock actualizado a diciembre de 2012.
1/ Incluye Dependencias Británicas y Territorios Británicos de Ultramar.
2/ Incluye Territorios de Ultrama
China investment is located mainly in the mining sector, but figures above do not show
the real magnitude of its investment in Peru. In the last years Chinese companies have
announced and are carrying out big investment. For example currently Chinalco
Aluminiun Corp. is investing 3.5 billion dollars in a copper mine called Toromocho4
the central part of Peru. Another big investment is in the project Pampa de Pongo, of the
Nanjinzhao Group Co. Ltd. for 3.28 billion dollars5
that will produce iron.
According to statistics by the Ministry of Energy and Mines of Peru, by January 2013
there is an amount of 54.68 billion dollars of investment mostly being currently carried
on the mining sector, of which investment from China accounts for 22.35% of the total,
or 12.21 billion dollars, the biggest one. See Graphic 3. China will become the largest
investor in the mining sector in Peru some years from now on.
Graphic 3: Approved investment (and currently carried on) in the mining sector, by country, in
Source: “Cartera Estimada de Proyectos Mineros” Updated January 2013, Ministry of Energy and Mines
See “Cartera Estimada de Proyectos Mineros” page 17, Updated january 2013, Ministry of Energy and
See the document mentioned in note 4, page 33.
Lately also Chinese investment in the fishing sector is active. The reason is that China is
the main buyer of Peruvian fishmeal. On March 13 this year China Fishery Group
Limited (CFGL) bought 9.9% of shares, valued at 54.8 million dollars, of Copeinca, one
of the biggest Peruvian companies in the sector6
. Already CFGL is a big player in the
fishmeal sector in Peru and has been buying other Peruvian companies. Peru share in
world export of fishmeal is around 41% and China in the main world importer of that
product with a share of 41% of the total7
But some Chinese investment has run into trouble, especially and notoriously Shougang
Corporation. Since it began operations, every year, and sometimes two or three times
per year, they have had trouble with its labor union that had gone on strikes very often8
Shougang is accused of low pay to its workers and of denying them proper working
conditions. Also it had some trouble with the community where it is located. These facts
called the attention of even the President of Peru Ollanta Humala, who in the year 2011
meeting of Chinese businessman in Latin-American held in November in Peru stated in
his opening speech that while Chinese investment is welcomed “foreign companies
must respect laws of the countries they operate and should treat well their workers”9
Chinese company exploiting petroleum in the north part of Peru, South American
Petroleum Exploration Tech (SAPET) Development Peru Inc., has been accused of not
doing enough to avoid contamination in its operation10
, and Zijin Mining Group has also
encountered opposition from an agricultural community in its planned operation for
copper called Rio Blanco in the north of Peru11
. This last operation involves an
investment of 1.5 billion dollars.
Anyway, several others Chinese companies are involved in projects, like China National
Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) in association with a foreign company, and, as stated
before, Chinalco (Aluminiun Corp of China), is doing the biggest investment by a
Chinese company in its project called Toromocho, of around 3.5 billion dollars. Jinzhao
Mining Peru, part of Group Zibo Hongda Mining Ltd., will invest 3.28 billion dollars in
its project of iron ore at Pampa de Pongo12
c. Economic Cooperation:
In the last years China has given some money as economic cooperation to Peru and
lately scholarships to Peruvian students to learn Chinese language. Also it has
See “China Fishery compra acciones de Copeinca por US$ 54.8 millones”, Diario Gestion, March 13,
2013, page 4,: http://gestion.quioscodigital.pe/epaper/epaper.html?tpu=gestion?ref=qdp
See “Copeinca: El valor de la compañía se ubica en US$1,000 millones”, Diario Gestión, March 12,
2013, page 4
Ver Diario Gestión: http://gestion.pe/noticia/1174802/trabajadores-shougang-se-van-huelga
In a speech by President Ollanta Humala, in the “V Cumbre Empresarial China-América Latina”, Lima.
November 21, 2011. Also Prime Minister Salomon Lerner said something similar in October of that year:
According to Proinversion, the Peruvian government agency that records foreign investment:
established several Confucius Institutes with Peruvian Universities to foment Chinese
culture and language.
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) established an office in Lima in
the year 2012 with a capital of 50 million dollars to lend companies in Peru who want to
buy goods from China13
Additionally, it could be mentioned that China became in 2009 a member of the
InterAmerican Development Bank, IDB, and in that condition is lending money to
development projects in the region.
3. FTA agreement between Peru and China
The FTA agreement was initially opposed by some companies in Peru that were afraid
of competing with China. In the agreement sensible sectors to China competition in
Peru like textiles, garments, footwear were exempted from the lowering or elimination
of tariffs, but the complaints are of unfair competition by Chinese firms, which are
accused of dumping or of selling products being subsidized by their government.
Several Chinese products have suffered the imposition of antidumping duties in Peru.
One of the most interesting is the case of Chinese shoes, which had antidumping duties
imposed on them in the year 2000 and in November 2011this was extended for 5 more
years. The reason for the extension was that, even if Chinese shoes have been the
subject of antidumping duties, their market share continued to rise until dominating it
completely. We see in Graphic 4 that the numbers of pairs of Chinese shoes imported
went from 208 thousands pairs in the year 2000 to 5.8 million in 2010. Its share in the
market of imported shoes went from 25% to 94% of the total, totally dominating it. This
information is provided by INDECOPI, the Peruvian office dealing with protecting
consumers and ensuring fair competition in the market.
On May 4, 2012 also INDECOPI decided to continue applying for three more years
antidumping duties to zippers imported from China14
Graphic 4: Number of pairs of imported Chinese shoes with plastic upper part and its share in the
market of imported shoes (in thousands –right hand-, and in %)
“Indecopi decidió mantener la vigencia de derechos antidumping para cierres importados de China”:
Source: Quarterly Dumping and Subsidies Bulletin of Indecopi, december 2011, pag 5:
By the end of December 2011, China is the country which has the major number of
products with antidumping duties imposed on them, as show in Graphic 5.
Graphic 5: Number of antidumping duties, by country of origin, as of December 31th, 2011
Source: Quarterly Dumping and Subsidies Bulletin of Indecopi, december 2011, pag 22:
Now, according to the latest information provided by INDECOPI, the Peruvian office
dealing with protecting consumers and ensuring fair competition in the market, by
December 31, 2012, the following products from China have antidumping duties:
several kinds of footwear (up to the year 2016), a kind of stainless steel flatware (up to
the year 2016), several kinds of zippers (up to the year 2015), several kinds of poplin
fabric type (up to the year 2015), several kinds of cotton fabric and mixtures with
polyester (up to the year 2014), a kind of cotton denim fabrics (up to the year 2015),
several kinds of plain weave fabrics (subject to examination), several kinds of sandals
(up to the year 2014)15
In summary, at present, March 2013, 57% of antidumping duties imposed by Peru are to
Chinese products. There are 8 duties imposed to China, two to United States, one to
Pakistan, one to Vietnam, one to India, one to Spain and another one to Italy16
See the December 2012 issue of INDECOPI “Commission of Dumping and Subsidies” bulletin.
The FTA has a chapter that would allow to known the real price of Chinese goods in
their country, one of the complaints of Peruvian producers. This chapter, Customs
Procedures and Trade Facilitation, is seen as a tool to know if there are dumping and
But the idea of having a FTA with China from Peru viewpoint was to have access to the
vast Chinese market for products other than raw materials. Especially Peru is exporting
many agro industrial goods, textiles and garments of special fibers, like cotton and from
the Andean camelids such as alpaca and the vicuna wool that sell successfully in U.S.
and European markets. The hope is that these products could be sold in the Chinese
The FTA has also a chapter to protect investment in both sides. Peru expects more
Chinese investment, not only to exploit raw materials, but also to produce manufactured
goods for the internal market that is growing, and also to produce in Peru and from it to
export to countries whom Peru has FTA agreements. Peru has achieved FTA
agreements with major markets like the U.S., European Community, Canada, most of
Latin American countries, Japan and South Korea. Also it should be mentioned that
Peru is in negotiating in the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, TPP that will form a
large free trade area among them. This agreement involves a total of 11 countries:
Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore,
United States and Vietnam. Japan is going to apply to join this agreement too.
One interesting development is that Peru has formed with Chile, Colombia and Mexico
the “Alianza del Pacifico” or Pacific Alliance, of 4 Latin American countries with
borders in the Pacific Ocean and they will have a free trade area among them. These are
the countries which are growing more in the last years in the Latin America region, have
more economic relationship with Asia countries, some of them have FTA agreement
with several Asian countries, and as a group will become a very attractive market.
As a group this four countries will form a market of 200 million people, will become the
ninth largest economy in the world, represents 35% of regional GDP, one third of its
territorial size, more than 50% of its exports, and receive most of the FDI in the
These four countries as said are going to have a free trade area for goods among them,
but also investment will flow freely, as also people (no visa is required now for citizens
of each country to travel to the other ones), and are joining their stock exchange markets
in the Mercado Integrado Latinoamericano, MILA (Latin America Integrated Market).
Already Chile, Colombia and Peru are in the MILA There is going to be also exchange
program for students among them (each country is giving scholarship to students from
the other three countries)19
See Diario Gestion, March 5, 2013, page 15: “El 57% de derechos antidumping son aplicados a
See the text of the FTA agreement in the web site of The Ministry of Trade and Tourism of Peru:
The FTA with China is also good for Peru as it allows obtaining cheaper Chinese goods
for Peruvians consumers and also machinery and equipment for its industries.
4. Chinese culture influence
It is said that perhaps 10% of Peru populations are of Chinese origin but many of them
have now no Chinese surnames and no Chinese physical characteristics. What happened
is that with time there have been a lot of intermarriage of Chinese with Peruvians and so
the surname and the Chinese physical characteristics have been lost. It is interesting to
notice that the Chinese laborers who came to Peru were all men, and no Chinese women
came during most of the XIX century when immigration to Peru began from the second
half of that century. As a result Chinese immigrants have to get married to local women.
Also it should be noted that because of the harsh conditions in the fields where Chinese
has to work from the beginning, some of them fled and went too far away places to
avoid being prosecuted. Some of them changed their surnames to avoid been caught by
authorities. And one last thing, as some of them settled in small towns, when they
registered to the local authorities, and especially when they had children, at the moment
of registering their surnames local authorities often misspelled their names and
surnames and in the documents, certificates of birth, or of marriage, names and
surnames are different from the original ones20
Humberto Rodriguez Pastor published many works on Chinese immigration, like the
one titled “Hijos del Celeste Imperio en el Perú (1850 - 1900). Migración, agricultura,
mentalidad y explotación” (Instituto de Apoyo Agrario, 1989); (2da edición: SUR,
2001). Also he published “Herederos del Dragón” (Fondo Editorial del Congreso del
Perú) in the year 2000.
Fernando de Trazegnies Granda published in 1994 a two volumen book “En el país de
las colinas de arena: reflexiones sobre la inmigración china en el Perú del S. XIX desde
la perspectiva del derecho” by the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. There is a
translation into Chinese of this book.
Chinese immigrants influence in Peru is well known in several subjects and for example
one strong is in food. In Peru Chinese restaurants are called CHIFA. This word is said
to be a degeneration of the Chinese word “chifan” (吃饭). In Peru we eat a lot of
“chaofan”( 炒饭,) and here it is called “chaufa” or “arroz chaufa”, “arroz” meaning rice
in Spanish. But in Peru chaofan is different of the fried rice or chaofan eaten in China
because Peruvian Chinese restaurants or CHIFA put everything in it, not only fried egg,
but several kind of vegetables and chicken, and even other kinds of meat. There are
books that describe the influence of Chinese food in Peruvian cuisine, like the use of the
soy sauce, in Peru called “siyau” (豉油), or the use of the wok (镬); the versatile round-
bottomed cooking vessel originating in the Canton region of China. As we see some
Chinese words are pronounced the Cantonese pronunciation because most of the
Chinese immigrants who came to Peru in the 19th
century came from that region, or
See for example the program that Peru has offering scholarship to study in the other three countries:
I have also seen by myself the misspelling of names and surnames in the case of Japanese who settled
in Peru. I am the official translator of the Japanese language in Peru and one of my jobs is to “correct” the
misspelling of the names.
Guangzhou (广州). A well know book on Chinese food in Peru or CHIFA is the one by
Mariella Balbi, a journalist, called “Los chifas en el Peru –Historia y recetas-” (“The
CHIFA in Peru - History and receipts-“) published in 1999.
Another consequence of the Chinese presence in Peru is that rice is the main staple food
in Peru. Peruvians eat rice at least twice per day, at lunch and dinner. It is the only
country in South America doing this.
There are Confucius Institutes created in the past years with support of the Chinese
government. At present there are four, two in Lima, the capital, one in the north and
other in the south of Peru. In Lima one is located in the “Pontificia Universidad Catolica
del Peru”, and the other is in the “Ricardo Palma University”. These institutes mainly
teach Chinese language but also organize events to promote China culture.
Now we see a little about political relations between Peru and China, especially about
visits at the highest levels. In April 2001 Alberto Fujimori became the first Peruvian
President to visit China and he went to China a total of 4 times during his ten year
government. In October 1995 Li Peng, China Prime Minister at that time, did a state
visit to Peru, becoming the first Chinese chief of state to visit Peru.
In June 2005 Alejandro Toledo, President of Peru pay a state visit to China.
In the year 2008 when Peru was host to APEC Leaders Meeting, President Hu Jintao
visited Peru. In April this year 2013 President of Peru Ollanta Humala went to China on
a state visit.
Besides these visits, Peru and China Leaders have met several times during the APEC
Leaders Meetings in several countries.
As said before Peru and China are together in APEC that put together economies in the
Pacific Basin but also are members of the Forum for East Asian and Latin American
Cooperation, FEALAC, that groups 20 countries in Latin America and 16 from Asia.
FEALAC “aims to promote cooperation, better understanding, and political and
economic dialogue between East Asia and Latin America in order to achieve more
effective, cooperative, and fruitful relations in all areas”21
Finally, the Peruvian government has begun giving scholarship for studying in China.
CONCYTEC, the official institution for science and technology is offering financing for
studies of Master, Doctor Course, special training and for Chinese language in Chinese
As have been seen China is an important economic partner of Peru. It is its biggest
market for its exports, and an important source of investment. These two roles will
Se FEALAC website http://www.fealac.org/2011/about/info.asp
See: “CONCURSO NACIONAL DE BECAS DE ESTUDIOS DE DOCTORADO, MAESTRÍA,
PERFECCIONAMIENTO DE ESPECIALIDADES O APRENDIZAJE DEL IDIOMA CHINO EN
UNIVERSIDADES DE LA REPÚBLICA POPULAR CHINA 2013 - 2014”,
increase in the future as China need for raw materials will increase and because its
companies are looking to control the source of these raw materials (this is a China state
policy and nearly all or all of its companies doing these investments are state
Peru is trying to bring Chinese investments not only for the raw material producing
sector but also in the industrial sector, but then this will depend in Peru government
efforts to make it attractive the industrial sector for Chinese investment and for them to
take advantage of the many FTA agreements that Peru is signing and that open the
foreign markets for goods produced here.
China economic growth at high rates is also important for Peru, to the point as it was
stated, that Peru Minister of Economy and Finance “prays every day” for this to
continue. Also, Peru has big expectations on increasing exports to the Chinese markets
thanks to the FTA, but this will depend on creating goods suitable for their consumers.
This is needed also to avoid the asymmetry of the trade relationship, where Peru mostly
sells raw materials and buys from China manufactured goods. Anyway Peru has to sell
more goods to China because a trade deficit with it has emerged in the year 2012 and
this could increase in the future.
*Professor at San Marcos National University, Lima, Peru, and Specialist in Asian Economies. Peru’s
Official Translator of the Japanese language. Master and Doctor course at Kobe University, Japan.
Visiting Professor at several Universities in Asia. Chairman of the FEALAC Vision Group