September 25, 2018 / 7:17 PM / in a month

Updated Peru-China trade deal may be ready by 2020: minister

NEW YORK (Reuters) - An update of Peru’s trade agreement with China could be completed as soon as 2020, and certainly by the time President Martin Vizcarra leaves office, Peruvian Trade Minister Roger Valencia said on Tuesday.

Peru and its top trade partner China vowed to update their 2010 bilateral free trade deal shortly after Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election in November 2016.

Trump’s complaints that other countries were taking advantage of the United States on trade, as well as his pledges to pursue an “America First” economic agenda, sparked fears of an upsurge in global protectionism.

Vizcarra’s term ends in July 2021, and the new China accord should be signed by then, Valencia told Reuters in New York as he accompanied Peru’s delegation to the U.N. General Assembly.

“For (20)20, (20)21, we should have an improved agreement, the necessary modifications,” he said.

Peru has said the existing deal with China was negotiated to exclude 11 sectors - including textiles, clothing and shoes. That took into account Peruvian fears that its local industries could not compete with China if tariffs were lowered.

Peru has also been holding discussions over trade with Britain, whose government wants to boost its trading relations with the rest of the world after it leaves the European Union. Known as Brexit, that is scheduled to take place in 2019.

Valencia said that Peru and Britain had agreed to ratify their current trading arrangements irrespective of what occurs in the Brexit process. Once Britain had left the EU, the two would work to expand the trade relationship, he added.

Reporting by Dave Graham; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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