U.S. Statement at the Trade Policy Review of Peru

WTO Trade Policy Review of Peru
U.S. Statement delivered by Ambassador Dennis C. Shea,
Permanent Representative to the WTO

Geneva, October 22, 2019

Thank you Mr. Chairman and thank you, Ambassador Tan, for your contributions as Discussant.

The United States is pleased to welcome Vice Minister Bayona, Ambassador Alfaro, and the entire Peruvian delegation on the occasion of Peru’s fifth Trade Policy Review (TPR).  The United States would like to thank the WTO Secretariat and the Government of Peru for the informative reports provided to Members prior to this meeting.

The United States commends Peru for its continued implementation of sound economic policies, which have led to sustained economic growth, even during times of global economic headwinds.  Peru’s continued pursuit of an open trade and investment regime has helped drive domestic reforms, create jobs, and reduce poverty and inequality.  The United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA), which entered into force just over 10 years ago, is a clear example of this policy in action, providing clear rules under which U.S. and Peruvian traders can benefit.  With the entry into force of the PTPA in 2009, Peru progressed from a unilateral preference recipient to a full partner with the United States.  Annual two-way trade in goods and services between the United States and Peru has expanded to more than $20 billion (2017 – Latest data available) – while also remaining balanced – and the outlook for future growth is positive.

Two-way trade in agricultural products between the United States and Peru has also expanded significantly since the PTPA entered into force.  U.S. imports of Peruvian agricultural products continue to grow, while U.S. exports are driven by strong demand from Peruvian producers of livestock and poultry that value the high quality, dependability, and price competitiveness of U.S. agricultural commodities.  The United States maintains its interest in ensuring the continuation of free and fair trade – driven solely by supply and demand – of these products under the PTPA.

In addition to the PTPA, the United States recognizes Peru’s progress in concluding additional agreements with other WTO Members since 2013.  We note Peru’s continuing role in APEC, serving as host economy for the second time in 2016.  Peru also continues to be a full participant at the WTO, including as a signatory to Trade Facilitation Agreement and in ongoing negotiations on fisheries subsidies and e-commerce.  Within the Western Hemisphere, Peru is a founding member of the Pacific Alliance, a trade integration bloc that includes a number of Latin American countries, which the United States continues to follow closely as an Observer and has increased technical cooperation with Peru and the other Alliance partners on procurement, cybersecurity principles, furthering the digital economy, and other areas.

Peru’s solid economic fundamentals and support for an international trading system based on fair competition, clear rules, and the reduction of barriers to trade continue to serve as an important example, both regionally and globally.  To further enhance the benefits of these policies, the United States encourages Peru to continue working to improve the administrative and physical infrastructure on which trade relies.  This includes continuing to enhance the technical expertise and transparency of government institutions, regulatory agencies, and customs authorities to provide predictability for traders, in addition to resolving infrastructure bottlenecks that impede the flow of goods and services and hamper competitiveness.

The United States takes this opportunity to note its continued concern with Peru’s 10-year moratorium on the cultivation and the import for cultivation of genetically engineered organisms, such as seeds, and on the importation of products derived from agricultural biotechnology.  While we appreciate Peru’s ongoing willingness to discuss this issue, the United States continues to have a number of questions surrounding the scientific justification for such a measure.  Additionally, the United States continues to insist that the moratorium be notified to the WTO, given the clear impact on trade of this measure, consistent with Peru’s obligations under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the WTO SPS Agreement.  The United States stands ready to collaborate with Peru on next steps following the moratorium’s expiration in 2021.

The United States underscores its interest in resolving confusion around Peruvian processes – including a new ‘single certificate’ – for the importation of industrially processed food of animal origin.  To better understand the process and ensure full transparency and compliance, the United States encourages Peru to notify this new certificate, and the process for obtaining it, to the WTO SPS Committee.

The United States would like to thank Peru for its continued willingness to discuss concerns surrounding the 2013 Act to Promote Healthy Eating among Children and Adolescents and its implementing regulations.  We remain interested in receiving more information concerning the specific science-based recommendations or guidance Peru considered in developing its individual nutrient thresholds.  We encourage Peru to consider alternative approaches that are less trade restrictive, are more consistent with international standards, and are less burdensome for both government and industry.

Finally – consistent with Peru’s national IP policy – the United States encourages Peru to continue making progress to achieve greater respect, appreciation, and use of the intellectual property system as a whole.  This includes implementing the outstanding PTPA obligations of providing statutory damages for copyright infringement and trademark counterfeiting, in addition to notice-and-takedown and safe harbor provisions for internet service providers.

The United States appreciates the opportunity to participate in this review and provide observations.  We deeply value Peru’s participation in the international trading system, and look forward to continued cooperation through our bilateral and multilateral endeavors.