UK Trade Minister Greg Hands met with his Peruvian counterpart Eduardo Ferreyros in Peru on Wednesday as part of the UK government’s campaign to woo some of Latin America’s fastest growing economies and lay the groundwork for a possible trade deal once it leaves the European Union in 2019.
The meeting follows Monday’s visit by Ecuador’s Foreign Trade Minister to London for talks with UK Investment Minister Mark Garnier, and last month’s meeting between UK Foreign Trade Secretary Liam Fox and his Colombian counterpart María Lorena Gutiérrez in Bogotá.
The UK is eager to sign a deal with Peru, Colombia and Ecuador based on their existing free trade agreement with the EU.
During his meeting, Hands announced that a multi-million pound support package for UK exporters and buyers of British goods and services in Peru.
“When we leave the EU, we must look outward and be a beacon to guide free trade, forging independent trade agreements with growing economies around the world,” Hands said. “That’s why we are initiating trade talks with growing markets in Latin America, opening up export opportunities for British companies.”
Garnier said that the UK was ready to “make the most of the abundant opportunities and start negotiating as an independent nation once we leave the EU Customs Union”.
Trade in goods and services between the UK and South American countries totaled £12.4bn in 2015.
Fruit, nuts and coffee are the main imports from South America into the UK, which its largest exports to the region include distillates, cars and medical equipment.