Globalized excellence: Peru exports 5,000 different products to the world

In 2022 it registered a record figure of US$ 63,193 million.

Peru exports around 5,000 different products to the world, thanks to the Free Trade Agreements (FTA), private investments and the varied productive offer of the country, generating decentralized employment, highlights the director of the Research Center for Global Economy and Business of the Association of Exporters (Cien-Adex), Edgar Vásquez.

Peru's exports have grown significantly since the beginning of this century, thus, from registering 6,956 million dollars (FOB value) in 2001, they went to 31,163 million in 2008. Later, in 2013 it reached 42,579 million and a decade later registered a record by rising to 63,193 million last year, according to figures from the Association of Exporters (Adex).

Likewise, the trade balance (exports minus imports) is favorable to Peru, with positive balances of 10,053 million dollars in 2021 and 3,119 million dollars in 2022.

In traditional products, copper and gold are the two main ones that Peru sends to international markets; and as far as non-traditional products are concerned, the most important are blueberries, grapes, avocados, squid, asparagus, mangoes, among others.

We see how in the most remote high Andean areas of the country a mining industry develops that values ​​the resources treasured in the bowels of the mountains, and in the deserts of the coast the agro-industry changes the arid landscape for large extensions of green fields of cultivation , generating thousands of decentralized jobs, to cite two examples of the country's main export activities.

So, we ask ourselves the question, what have been the factors that have driven this dizzying growth? In this regard, the director of the Research Center for Global Economy and Business of the Exporters Association (Cien-Adex), Edgar Vásquez Vela, lists three reasons.

The first is the trade policies that have been implemented since 2000 and have been maintained to date. "Peru adopted an international integration agenda through the negotiation of FTAs ​​that allows us to have 22 trade agreements with 58 countries and that cover 90% of our international trade," he underlines.

The second reason, he points out, is "the great capacity of the Peruvian exporting businessman, who despite international crises, internal crises, the lack of competitiveness of the Peruvian economy and the obstacles that exist in the bureaucracy, are always with the capacity to compete in the world, to take advantage of the opportunities that international markets present”.

The third point refers to the favorable international context, since the world economy showed a positive performance in this century, with the exception of the international economic crisis of 2009 and the covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

"These factors boosted the demand for products on a global scale, benefiting the entire Peruvian export chain, from minerals to various manufactures, including agribusiness, fishing and aquaculture," he highlights.

He also points out that the diverse geography allows the country to have an exportable supply potential. "Peru is a blessed country in the sense of the potential it has, but a large part of the export boom that has occurred, more than due to aspects of nature itself, has been due to the effort, investment and inventiveness of the exporting businessman" , he emphasizes.

labor impact

Exports generate job opportunities for millions of Peruvians, Vásquez explains that 93% of export units are micro, small and medium-sized companies (MSMEs).

"In 2022 we exceeded 9,000 exporting companies and we have approached approximately 5,000 products exported to the world," he highlights.

It asserts that shipments abroad from Peru have more than 4 million jobs associated with them. “In 2021 we closed with 4.1 million direct, indirect and induced jobs; in 2022 we will surely approach 4.2 million ”, he points out.

It also explains that the direct jobs are those in the exporting companies themselves, the indirect ones are from the companies that provide services and inputs to which they export, while the induced ones are those generated by the consumption of workers, in restaurants, clothing stores , education, health.

Likewise, it also emphasizes that export activity contributes to labor formalization and the Peruvian economy.

"Exporting is a formalizing activity by nature, because the exporter is subject to international audits, inspection of clients, in relation to respect for different and conditions that the market demands, be they labor, environmental, among others," he highlights.

Therefore, it stands out that to be an exporter one must necessarily be a formal company, which favors the contribution of direct taxes to income, and indirect taxes such as the general sales tax (IGV) and the selective consumption tax (ISC). for the goods and services it acquires for its export process.

"Then there is a positive effect on revenue when export activity grows," he stresses.

New generations

Vásquez emphasizes the interest of young people in professional careers in foreign trade, not only at Adex, but at other universities.

"More and more Peruvians and especially young people in this more globalized and connected world understand that their opportunities are not only concentrated in Peru, but that there is a world of opportunities," he says.

"Peru cannot think only of its market, because it is very small, we have to go out into the world and take advantage of the FTAs, and we will do that by changing our culture, becoming more global and taking advantage of all the opportunities that we have at hand," he points out.

For his part, Alberto Del Águila Alfaro, an economic prospective specialist from the National Center for Strategic Planning (Ceplan), points out that given "the existence of spaces for Peru to consolidate itself in the international market, and thereby promote regional development." It is of vital importance to work with local producers and companies to promote the formation of productive linkages; factors that will help promote socioeconomic development at the departmental, provincial and district levels.

To do this, he believes that it is necessary "to rethink the planning of different economic activities in the design of policies and plans that make it possible to make better use of the potential in the different territories."

“Their importance lies in the fact that they can be used to generate changes that contribute to improving people's quality of life and conditions. This is the case of the mining potential in southern Peru, agribusiness in the north and center of the country, livestock or aquaculture, to name a few”, he explains.

Vásquez, who was head of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (Mincetur), affirms that although the coast was integrated into global markets with greater success, the Andean and Amazon regions that also have export potential face challenges to overcome, with innovation, quality, among others.

"One of them is the lack of infrastructure, the physical connection is much more limited in the Andes and in the Amazon area, even more complex due to the characteristics of the area, which means that the logistical costs of transferring products to points of international exit are very high”, he points out.

He also comments that a Mincetur study identified that the price of transporting onion farmers from Arequipa to the port of Callao to export it had a charge that reached 50% of the cost of production.

Looking ahead, Ceplan specialist Alberto Del Águila Alfaro highlights the opportunities for Peruvian agro-exports, given the world trends to 2050, where food security will be a challenge, since the world population is expected to increase by 2,000 million, equivalent to a quarter of the current

"Consequently, the demand for food will grow by 56% compared to 2010, which is why it is estimated that it will be necessary to increase food production by 60% to satisfy world demand by 2050," he stresses.

Likewise, Vásquez points out that Peru's foreign trade has great potential for expansion.

"We have minimally taken advantage of the conditions of large markets such as the United States, Europe, China and Japan, among others," he emphasizes.

He believes that world production slows down, which will affect the Peruvian economy. "However, if we manage to resolve these problems of internal conflict in the short term, we could see a growth in exports between 2% and 5% this year, depending on the conditions of the global economy," he points out.

export potential

Ceplan points out that it identified a series of products with export potential that should be promoted more forcefully, mainly in the following regions: this is the case of kiwicha in Arequipa, Apurímac and Cusco; the tuna in Cusco, Ayacucho, Huancavelica, Arequipa, Apurímac and Áncash; the oca in Puno, Cusco and Apurímac; oregano in Arequipa, Moquegua and Tacna; flaxseed in Huancavelica, La Libertad and Junín; the plum in Lambayeque, Tumbes and Ica; the palm hearts of peach palm, in San Martín, Loreto or Ucayali; the pitahaya in Lima, Lambayeque, Amazonas, Ica and La Libertad; yacon in Amazonas, Cusco, Puno and Pasco.

“Also, the South American camelids, made up of alpacas and llamas, with a population in southern Peru that is inserted in the textile clothing production chain. Trout aquaculture production, mainly in Puno, Cusco, Junín, Pasco, Ayacucho, Cajamarca and Huancavelica. The production of the timber industry from forest potential in the Amazon as in Ucayali, among other products, which can help diversify the productive capacity of these regions”, details Ceplan.

It has also been determined that Peru already has comparative advantages in exports of sweet, fresh or refrigerated peppers; fresh onions; green peas; blueberries, aguaymanto, pomegranate, lucuma, mango, etc.; fresh figs; grapefruit; cocoa butter; amaryllis bulbs; products derived from sheep and alpaca wool; and alcoholic beverages such as pisco, among the main ones.

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