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Fact-Finding Mission Looks at Ways to Facilitate U.S.–Peru Trade

This past November, a delegation from Peru visited Florida and was shown how identifying best practices in customs procedures and supply-chain logistics can facilitate bilateral trade.

by Judy Lao

Customs clearance procedures and supply-chain logistics can often be the Achilles, heel of any well-thought-out and otherwise well-executed exporting venture. This past November, an important effort to ease those potential roadblocks and to smooth trade between Peru and the United States was undertaken when a weeklong fact-finding mission from Peru visited south Florida.

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Amer Kayani (center), the Commerce Department’s senior commercial officer in Saudi Arabia, with Saudi delegates attending Power-Gen, an energy trade show that was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, this past December. (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)
The cargo terminal of the Port of Miami, Florida. Customs procedures at the port were the focus of a recent visit to Florida by Peruvian customs officials and business representatives. (photo courtesy Port of Miami)

Representatives from the Peru–American Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Foreign Trade Association led the fact-finding mission, which included 20 representatives from Peru’s Customs Administration and from the Peruvian private sector. The delegates were met in Florida by representatives from several federal agencies, local government officials, and more than 30 U.S. businesses and private-sector organizations. The International Trade Administration’s Market Access and Compliance unit and the U.S. Export Assistance Center in south Florida contributed to the mission by coordinating visits with U.S. businesses and by highlighting U.S. export opportunities.

Continuation of Earlier Efforts

The mission was inspired by a customs workshop held in Lima, Peru, in July 2009. (See the September 2009 issue of International Trade Update.) That workshop focused on bringing the Peruvian and U.S. public and private sectors together to identify customs clearance best practices in order to maximize trade opportunities under the U.S.–Peru trade promotion agreement (TPA), which was signed in 2006 and entered into force in February 2009. A key recommendation from the workshop was to arrange an opportunity for Peruvian customs officials to learn about U.S. customs procedures.

Port Procedures Reviewed

One of the highlights of the fact-finding mission was a presentation to the delegates by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on customs clearance procedures at the Port of Miami and the Miami International Airport’s trade and cargo operation centers. The presentation focused on imports and exports of goods, CBP bonds, bonded warehouses, agriculture and cargo inspections, and general procedures under the Customs–Trade Partnership against Terrorism.

The Peruvian delegates recognized the value of the presentation in facilitating future trade between Peru and the United States, which in 2008 totaled $12 billion in two-way trade ($6.2 billion in U.S. exports to Peru).. One delegate, Oscar Vasquez of Peru’s Trade Ministry, noted that “understanding the U.S. customs system allows our government to consider implementing similar approaches that better facilitate international trade and comply with security standards.”

Local Involvement

During the mission, the Peruvian delegates also met with representatives from several U.S. businesses and local port authorities to learn about the international trade services provided by the companies and to discuss private-sector supply-chain logistics.

One local official who participated in the mission, Cameron Benson, city manager of Hollywood, Florida, noted that “the city of Hollywood views the opportunity to reach out to foreign trade groups as a win–win situation. Visitors get a chance to learn about new approaches to international trade, and the city of Hollywood gets an opportunity to showcase the trade services it can provide to international businesses and potentially attract investment.”

Helping bring foreign governments together with U.S. local officials and private-sector representatives will be critical to maximizing the benefits of the U.S.–Peru TPA.

Bilateral Collaboration Is Key

The initiatives undertaken in line with the commitments of the TPA to showcase best practices in customs facilitation demonstrate that countries can be more successful at implementing best practices—and achieving efficient customs processes—when they can build collaborative relationships with the private sector.

Workshop participant Ralph Puga, president of the Florida Foreign Trade Association, echoed that sentiment. “Collaboration places the responsibility of success on all participants, eases financial burden, and increases the potential for all participants to learn from a wider audience about trade and investment opportunities.”

The future of the U.S.–Peru trading relationship will largely rely on the success of such collaborations.

Judy Lao is an international trade specialist with the International Trade Administration’s Market Access and Compliance unit.

 

 

For More Information

The International Trade Administration has an ongoing commitment to facilitate exporters’ access to the Peruvian market under the terms of the U.S.–Peru trade promotion agreement. To learn more about exporting to Peru, visit the U.S. government’s export portal at www.export.gov or contact the Trade Information Center at 1-800-USA-TRAD(E) (1-800-872-8723). For more information on the customs fact-finding mission, contact Judy Lao, tel.: (202) 482-1536; e-mail: judy.lao@trade.gov.