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Peru's new president sanguine over effects of UK Brexit from Europe

Peru's new president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, said the UK's exit from the European Union was one more example of "misdirected nationalism." He formally takes up office in July.

In an interview with Chile's La Tercera newspaper, Peru's new president, a former IMF and World Bank economist and general manager of Peru's Central Reserve Bank, said that "the Brexit will not affect us much, just something in terms of trade."

Kuczynski, or PPK as he is more generally known said "We have a treaty with the European Union; there will have to be one with the United Kingdom at some point between now and in two years, once it is clear what is going on."

He added: "Brexit is one more example of misdirected nationalism."

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski at the Pacific Alliance meeting

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski at the Pacific Alliance meeting.

Trade with the UK

The UK exports machinery, piston engines and cars to Peru worth about $200 million (182 million euros). Peruvian shipments to the UK last year totaled $478 million, made up of gold, tin and agricultural products.

Peru’s Foreign Trade and Tourism Minister, Magali Silva, said last week that exports to the UK had been growing. "We saw a 13.5 percent increase last year, and a 9.8 percent rise in 2014, that is, an upward trend in exports, particularly of agricultural products, has been observed since 2013," she said.

Peru trades with the UK via the European Union General System of Preferences, but its major trading partners are China and the USA.

The 77-year-old president was a schoolboy in Lancashire, England before studying at Oxford and Princeton universities. His German-Swiss parents of Polish descent had fled Germany for Peru in 1933.

In Chile to meet with regional leaders at the 11th meeting of the Pacific Alliance to discuss trade issues on Friday, he said there should be treaties so that each country could "defend its interests."

Kuczynski also called for a restoration of the 2 plus 2 links between Peru and Chile for their defense and foreign ministries to maintain and develop good relations - beyond just trade.

He called for the development of technology and innovation with "healthy and competitive economies" while regretting what he described as the "history of great protectionism" in the Mercosur region - whose full members are Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. Peru, along with Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Suriname, are associate countries.

Kuczynski held his first bilateral meeting with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet on Friday.

President in July

PPK takes office in late July as Peru is experiencing economic growth - expected to rise to 3.7 percent this year. He edged out

opposition candidate Keiko Fujimori

by less than a quarter of a percentage point in the June runoff election.

The opposition controls congress while PPK's Peruvians for Change party holds just 18 of the 130 seats to Fujimori's Popular Force party with 73 seats. PPK last served as finance minister and then prime minister in Peru from 2004 to 2006.

PPK is expected to encourage the private sector to invest in and manage infrastructure projects. He wants to reduce sales taxes and encourage consumer spending, while providing tax incentives for foreign direct investment.

A 2011 law requires investors to consult with indigenous peoples before developing mining projects on their land.

Indigenous communities

make up about half of Peru's 31 million people, with some tribes in the remote Amazon regions who have only recently made contact with outsiders.

UK companies have been part of consortia bidding for infrastructure projects, such as the New Container Terminal in the port of Callao and in the mining sector.

Environmental effects of illegal mining in the Madre de Dios region of Peru.

Environmental effects of illegal mining in the Madre de Dios region.

jm/mg (EFE, dpa)

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