The WaPo’s Lally Weymouth interviews Peru’s president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a.k.a. PPK. They talked about Trump, but more importantly, about China and the Trans Pacific Partnership,
Q. Your first foreign trip as president was to China. Are you looking to Asia for growth because Trump is threatening trade barriers?
A. China is our biggest market. It is about 22 percent of Peruvian exports — mostly metals but also some sophisticated agricultural products. We have no issues with China the way others may have with [its claims in the South China Sea].
Q. You are trying to get the Chinese to invest here?
A. The Chinese have two huge copper mines here. They are looking at several other projects.
Q. If the U.S. opts out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership , will China move in and ask TPP countries to join its own Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership?
A. Right. This is a group that will include India, which is important for us because India is the one country we don’t have a trade treaty with. The idea we floated during the recent meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is that the Pacific Alliance countries — that is Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Chile — join the Free Trade Agreement of Asia and the Pacific (FTAAP). Basically, the FTAAP is the APEC countries without the U.S.
TPP was more ambitious, but it also had its detractors. It didn’t include China, which is the bigger player in the Pacific. Also on pharmaceuticals, the period of tests would have gone from five to 10 years, which might have raised the cost of pharmaceuticals in countries like Peru. So there was some opposition to it. A lot of the business people here love TPP.
Q. How about yourself?
A. I don’t love TPP so much. China is our biggest customer. So how can we support something that excludes them?
Read the whole thing.