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Ollanta Humala

COLOMBIA - Diplomacy

Mutual Gains

President, Peru


President Ollanta Moises Humala Tasso joined the Army Officer School in 1979, and he studied zootechnics at Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina. In the 2001 he earned a Masters at Escuela del Centro de Altos Estudios Nacionales (CAEN) in National Defense and in 2002, successfully completed a Master’s in Political Science at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. He was a military attaché in France, where he began a PhD at the Centro de Altos Estudios para América Latina (the Center of Higher Studies for Latin America). In 2005, along with his wife Nadine Heredia Alarcón, he founded the Peruvian Nationalist Party. In June 2011, he was elected Constitutional President of the Republic, swearing into office on July 28th, 2011.

TBY talks to Ollanta Humala, President of Peru, on ties between Colombia and Peru, how the two countries can gain from mutual trade and cooperation, and the importance of trade agreements and state-level collaboration.

Peru and Colombia’s combined bilateral trade is approximately $2.2 billion, what are the main pillars of trade between the two countries, and in what areas has the Pacific Alliance boosted this bilateral trade?

In 2013, total commercial trade with Colombia was $2.25 billion. Colombia is Peru’s 13th main commercial partner, and the fourth main Latin-American destination for Peruvian exports, with $800 million of exports in 2013. Between January and November 2014, we registered $1.14 billion in exports to Colombia, which is an increase of 48.8% with regards to 2013. The main products exported are chemical products, jewelry, textiles, copper, plastic products, crude oil derivatives, sugar, and zinc. However, there is also the impact of the Pacific Alliance on Peru-Colombia relations, with the impulse that our governments are giving to the Integrated Latin American Market (MILA) allowing for more alternatives for investment and a deeper market together with Chile and Mexico. Peru is committed to the consolidation of the Latin American Integrated Market (MILA) with Mexico, Chile and Colombia. To make a go of it, we must continue working on homogenization of the requirements for the regional issuance of fixed income instruments, facilitation of private pension funds’ investments among the countries within the Pacific Alliance, harmonization of tax treatments among Pacific Alliance countries to reduce asymmetry and implementation of a common trading platform to allow faster and more cost effective regional securities trading. Another, important part of our relation with Colombia is that nation’s experience of participating in the OECD’s “Country Program”, which includes a group of activities that help counties to boost their involvement with the OECD. We need all the help we can get from Colombia in this matter, because all Peruvians, as a nation, have the objective of becoming part of the OECD, which we aspire to achieve by 2021.

In September, agreements were formed between Peru and Colombia’s mining and energy sectors in order to facilitate sustainable extraction of minerals. What will be the benefits of such cooperation, and how will this impact international trade and investment?

The Memorandum of Understanding will be an instrument of great importance in diversification and encouragement of technological and economic cooperation between the two countries, as well as in the cooperation between companies that work in the mining sector, in light of Peru’s experience in the mining industry, the natural conditions of both countries, and also due to the presence of Peruvian companies that produce equipment and metallic constructions in Colombia during the stages of the mining cycle. Each country’s domestic benefits from cooperation will reflect the implementation of “16 areas of cooperation,” some of which represent a common interest, while others are a priority for either Colombia or Peru. In most cases, they are implemented through mutual visits of the representatives of public entities and private companies with the objective of experience exchange in mining and energy, excepting those special cases that call for other actions, such as the organization of the Bilateral Exhibition of machinery, equipment and services, and the encouragement of cooperation and promotion of investments. The impact of international commerce and investments will be achieved through the encouragement of cooperation in business sectors of each country in the form of purchase of machinery and mining equipment and metallic constructions for modernization of the sector in terms of security and automation of production processes. Bilateral exhibitions of machinery, equipment and services will be established. Also, technology and development transfers between the countries will take place, as well as investments in research and innovation activities and services for mining and energy sectors. Finally, encouragement and the promotion of mining investments in both countries will take place, creating favorable trade conditions, with the objective of investing in the start and development of new explorations, mining operations and energy projects.

How are Peru and Colombia enhancing their cooperation to combat the illicit drug trade and what implications does this have for the economy, security, and trade of the Amazonian and border regions of Peru and Colombia?

Peru and Colombia have important bilateral mechanisms for dialogue, coordination, and cooperation between the authorities in the fight against drugs. These include the Joint Commission on Drug Control, which aims to coordinate actions to counter the production, trafficking, and consumption of drugs. The Commission has held eight meetings to date. The last, held in Bogotá, Colombia, on December 2014, had the aim of strengthening bilateral dialogue on drug policy, as well as facilitating joint efforts to tackle illicit drug trafficking in border areas. This meeting allowed the authorities concerned to coordinate actions and exchange information and experience in supply reduction, demand reduction, alternative development, money laundering, judicial cooperation, and forfeiture. In 2014 Peru and Colombia established the Bi-national Cabinets as their highest political mechanism in order to enhance cooperation between the two countries, including the fight against illegal drugs trafficking and other related transnational illicit trade. At its first meeting it was agreed to give priority this year to the development of a common plan to control the activities of companies involved in the production of chemical precursors. This plan will include the exchange of information about each country’s monitoring systems, trade, online surveillance and bordering control. Experts of both countries met again last December in Bogotá, where they exchanged ideas to further enhance cooperation in this field.



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