The Mexican Senate on Thursday approved the free-trade agreement (FTA) between Mexico and Peru by a count of 55 votes in favor of the legislation and 47 against. The agreement was signed by the presidents of both countries in April of this year, but stalled in the Senate due to concerns over the potential impact on Mexico’s agricultural sector.
The FTA was praised by Mexican Economy Minister Bruno Ferrari, who said that Peru is growing rapidly and “is a natural option for Mexican producers who are looking to expand their business in Latin America.” Trade between Mexico and Peru has increased 13 percent annually, from $414 million to $1.46 billion between 2000 and 2010, according to the Peruvian Trade and Tourism Ministry. The agreement offered an opportunity for Mexico to diversify its trade agenda, as 80 percent of its exports currently go to the United States.
But opponents of the bill, including Heladio Ramirez Lopez, former head of the National Peasant Confederation and president of the Rural Development Commission, warned that the FTA would threaten Mexico’s ability to export at least 30 of its agricultural products, and may create health risks for the Mexican population. If the treaty had not passed, it could have jeopardized Mexico’s participation in the Pacific Alliance, a new regional trade agreement that includes Peru, Chile, Colombia and Panama- all of which signed an agreement on April 28 to integrate trade production.