Peru: Morning News Roundup – Monday January 28

Peru became in 2007 Chile’s main foreign investment attraction

Chile’s foreign direct investment in 2007 reached its highest level in the past 10 years, according to the Santiago Chamber of Commerce (CCS). Of 4.689 billion US dollars in Chilean capital invested outside Chile, 26%, or 1.236 billion dollars, ended up in Peru. This figure is four times the amount Chilean firms invested in 2006, when Colombia was the preferred destination. Spurred by retail expansion, capital from Chile’s commercial sector was the decisive factor in the growth in investment in Peru. Particularly notable was Chilean retail giant Cencosud’s purchase of the Wong group, valued at 500 million US dollars. The company acquired 100% of the Peruvian supermarket chain, which operates under several different names: Wong, Metro, Eco and American Outlet. (Merco Press – click here to read complete article)

Politics, Peru and a Presidential Primary?

How did a U.S. trade agreement with Peru of all countries become a political hot potato in the recent Congressional Black Caucus CNN debate? With repeated polls showing that strong majorities, including a majority of Republican voters, consider our current trade policies to be damaging for themselves and the nation, trade is an issue on which candidates seek to differentiate themselves. Enter the Peru trade pact. It was negotiated by President Bush to expand the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) model to yet another Latin American country. Every and any NAFTA expansion agreement sparks ire among Democratic party base groups and increasingly among traditionally GOP-leaning small business owners, farmers and ranchers. Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have been racing to out-anti-NAFTA each other as they have scrambled to adopt the critical perspective on our trade status quo that former Sen. John Edwards brought to the race and the majority of the American public shares. (The Huffington Post – click here to read complete article by Lori Wallach)

Bill boosts trade with Peru

Sen. Kent Conrad and Rep. Earl Pomeroy supported the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement. The bill, signed into law last month, will significantly enhance North Dakota’s international business opportunities. Our business will directly benefit from this trade agreement. Prior to its passage, Peru imposed a 7 percent import duty on our products. With the trade agreement, our products will enter duty-free. The trade agreement essentially does two things: First, it provides for even more trade between the United States and Peru. Second, it makes North Dakota and other U.S. exporters more competitive with other world exporters. Several North Dakota products are already exported to Peru, including Bobcat skid steers, lentils, dry peas, wheat and mining equipment. These export sales, currently valued at $2 million annually, will increase under this agreement. (Bismarck Tribune – click here to read complete article by Christopher Harris)

Ex-lover saw slaying suspect toss suitcase into ocean

The former lover of a Pennsylvania man suspected of killing his wife in Peru told authorities that she saw the man toss a suitcase into the ocean four days after his wife was last seen, Peruvian police said. Monica Munoz Pereda, 22, told police she was with William Trickett Smith Jr. on a boat off the coast of Peru in July when he threw a suitcase overboard. Trickett said it contained old documents and papers, and that it was an American business tradition to get rid of things that way, Pereda told police. ”When we want to forget about something, we throw it in the ocean,” Smith told Pereda, according to police. About a month later, the body of Smith’s 21-year-old Peruvian wife, Jana Gomez Menendez de Smith, was found stuffed in a blue suitcase that washed ashore on a Lima beach. Smith, 26, of Paxtang, has not been charged in the slaying. But with the new information from Pereda, police have enough evidence to begin extradition proceedings, Manuel Leon, the lead investigator in the case in Lima, told The Patriot-News of Harrisburg through a translator. Smith’s former attorney, Don Bailey, said Pereda’s claims are ”ridiculous.” (AP – click here to read complete article)

Doe Run Peru Launches Community Support Program

Working in coordination with local and regional authorities, Doe Run Peru has launched a volunteer program in the La Oroya community that funds selected projects submitted from groups needing assistance. The program, to which Doe Run Peru has committed more than $2 million, comes in addition to the company’s existing community relations programs. "In all there will be more than 50 projects carried out during 2008 in the Junнn and Huancavelica regions, especially in communities located near our company’s operations," said Jaime JesÑŠs, Doe Run Peru’s community relations manager. Projects to be taken up under the program this year include equipping the La Oroya Maternity Center, undertaking a genetic livestock breeding program and training the directors and teachers of the 80 La Oroya area elementary schools in educational development. (PR-USA – click here to read complete press release)