Past, Present and Future Report

May 2011

The Government of Canada has prepared this report based on primary and secondary sources of information. Readers should take note that the Government of Canada does not guarantee the accuracy of any of the information contained in this report, nor does it necessarily endorse the organizations listed herein. Readers should independently verify the accuracy and reliability of the information. This report is intended as a concise overview of the market for those interested in its potential and is not intended to provide in-depth analysis which may be required by the individual exporter. Although every effort has been made to ensure that the information is correct, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada assumes no responsibility for its accuracy, reliability, or for any decisions arising from the information contained herein.

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Table of Contents

Executive Summary

  • In the years leading up to the recent global financial crisis, economic growth in Peru averaged a steady rate of 6.8%, one of the few Latin American countries to have sustained a positive growth rate following the recession, and is projected to reach close to 6% growth in 2011.
  • Peru was ranked as one of the top 10 most improved economies of the year by the World Bank, ranking first in the starting a business and trading across borders categories.
  • Through the Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement (FTA), 95% of tariffs were eliminated on Canadian exports, providing greater market access for Canadian exporters.
  • Agricultural trade between Canada and Peru represents roughly 9% of total trade, down from 10.3% in 2009, but Canada's top three exports to Peru are agri-food products.
  • With 71% of the population living in urban areas, and one third of the population residing in Lima, Peruvian citizens have been increasingly exposed to Western retail and food services.
  • Imported food is almost exclusively sold by urban retailers, and 80% of retail food sales occur in Lima.
  • Hypermarkets are expected to achieve the strongest value growth in grocery retailers (9%) due to continued expansion into low-income areas.
  • In 2009, supermarket chains reached $2.0 billion in food sales, growing 13.5%.
  • Opportunities exist in the areas of packaged and processed foods, vegetable and fruit drinks, and health products.


Characterized by a stable, growing economy, and as one of the few countries in Latin America to sustain a positive growth rate during the recent global economic recession, Peru presents an attractive investment environment. The country has continuously pursued reforms to facilitate business openings, property registration, contract fulfillment, tax payments, employee hiring and foreign trade over the years, making its market more attractive to investors.

In the years leading up to the global financial crisis, economic growth in Peru averaged a steady rate of 6.8%. These rates decreased due to the economic recession, but are expected to be re-established after the country recovers.

Peru's varied climate makes it privy to a wide range of natural resources. The Andes Mountains endow the country with large mineral reserves, while its tropical climate allows for an abundance of agricultural products. However, the country still relies on agricultural imports to feed its citizens.

Peru's developing consumer market and expanding middle class has potential to be a driving force for increased demand for European and North American foodstuffs. The highly urbanized population is increasingly turning to convenience foods as a result of their busier lifestyles, while health continues to remain an important area of focus for Peruvian consumers. These trends are expected to continue, presenting ample opportunity for Canadian exporters. Opportunities exist in the areas of packaged and processed foods, vegetable and fruit drinks, and health products.

Canada - Peru Relations

Canada and Peru enjoy strong and growing bilateral relations. Canada ranks fourth as a foreign investor in Peru, while Peru ranks 20th as a trading partner for Canada. Total trade between Canada and Peru totalled $4.1 billion in 2010.

The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has managed a bilateral program in Peru since 1968. CIDA has recently identified Peru as one of the 20 countries of focus for Canada's development assistance. Development projects that are focused on Peru include The Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, Strengthening Regional Governments for Social and Economic Development, and Enabling Local Ownership of Development. Other CIDA funding for Peru focuses on women, children, and economic growth.

Canada continues to work with Peru to promote corporate social responsibility practices. This work especially affects key mining communities in which business practices have caused grievances. The joint effort in assuring that corporate social responsibility is practiced in these areas strengthens relations between the two countries and works to improve the overall business environment.

In 2007, Canada and Peru agreed upon a Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (FIPA). The FIPA is a bilateral agreement that protects foreign investment through legally-binding rights and obligations. As a result, Canadians are able to invest and do business in Peru without worry of being exploited. Building on Peru's already sound reputation and good relations with Canada, the FIPA makes Peru even more attractive to Canadian investors and exporters.

Trade and investment between Peru and Canada has continued to grow. The Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement (FTA), Labour Cooperation Agreement (LCA) and Agreement on the Environment (EA) entered into force on August 1, 2009. These agreements contribute to the growth of commercial relations between Canada and Peru and will also allow Canadian businesses to better compete in Peru. Through these agreements, 95% of tariffs were eliminated on Canadian exports, providing greater market access for Canadian exporters.

Canada-Peru Bilateral Trade (2010)
Peru Total Trade $66.9 billion
Exports $ 35.9 billion
Imports $31.0 billion
Trade balance $4.9 billion
Canada-Peru Trade $4.1 billion
Exports $0.5 billion
Imports $3.6 billion
Trade balance ($3.2 billion)
Canada-Peru Ag Trade $370.7 million
Exports $240.0 million
Imports $130.7 million
Trade balance $ 109.3 million
  • Canada-Peru trade has grown 104% since 2005, with Canadian exports increasing by more than 80%.
  • Major Canadian exports to Peru in 2010 were meslin and wheat (37.0%), durum wheat (4.1%)), lentils (3.9%), parts of boring or sink machinery (3.7%) and newsprint (3.3%).
  • In 2010, top Canadian imports from Peru were gold (72.2%), petroleum oils (10.0%), copper (3.6%) lead (3.3%) and silver (3.3%).

Agricultural Trade

Currently, Peru ranks as Canada's 15th largest destination for agri-food exports, and is also Canada's 22nd largest agri-food import source. Agricultural trade between the two countries represents roughly 9% of total trade. Canada's agri-food imports from Peru increased in 2010 by 23% after seeing a small dip in 2009 of 8%, likely due to the recession. In contrast, agri-food exports to Peru have increased slightly from 2009. Total agri-food trade between the two countries increased by 9% from 2009 to 2010, and has increased 50% since 2007.

Canada's Top 5 Agricultural Exports to Peru (2010)
Wheat and meslin $ 177.1 million
Durum wheat $ 19.7 million
Lentils dried, shelled $ 18.7 million
Barley $ 7.0 million
Peas dried, shelled $ 5.8 million
  • Canada's total agri-food exports to Peru exceeded $240 million in 2010.
  • In 2010, wheat and meslin continued to be the largest agri-food export to Peru at 73.8% of total agri-food exports.
  • Other popular exports included durum wheat (8.2%), lentils (7.8%), barley (2.9%) and peas (2.4%).
Canada's Top 5 Agricultural Imports from Peru (2010)
Coffee, not roasted, not decaffeinated $39.6 million
Asparagus $34.0 million
Grapes $9.1 million
Mandarins $6.7 million
Guavas, mangoes and mangosteens $4.9 million
  • In 2010, Canada's total agri-food imports from Peru totalled $130.7 million.
  • Coffee replaced asparagus as the largest agri-food import in 2010 at 30.3% and 26.0% of total imports respectively.
  • Other agri-food imports included grapes (6.9%) mandarins (5.1%) and guavas, mangoes and mangosteens (3.8%).

Complete statistical summary available:

Canada-Peru bulk, intermediate and consumer exports/imports:

Both intermediate and consumer exports were affected by the global economic turndown, dropping in 2008. Bulk exports were increasing until 2009, and then decreased slightly in 2010. Bulk exports continue to be the largest export category from Canada to Peru, accounting for 87% of total exports in 2010. Bulk exports were predominantly made up of wheat and meslin, representing 85.1% of bulk exports, durum wheat (9.5%), barley (3.4%) and canary seed (1.4%).

However, intermediate exports rebounded in 2009 by 34%, only to decrease slightly in 2010. Canada's largest intermediate export to Peru was lentils at 67.6%. Other major intermediate exports included peas (20.8%), yeasts (2.1%), animal products (1.9%) and semen bovine (1.8%).

Consumer exports continued to decrease in 2009, but rose dramatically from 2009-2010 by 148%. Whey overcame dog or cat food as the largest consumer export in 2010 at 28.7%. Other main consumer exports in 2010 were ethyl alcohol and other spirits (16.7%), dog or cat food (11.4%), potatoes (8.9%) and frozen swine cuts (8.0%).

Canada's Exports: Description of this image follows.

Canada's Exports of Bulk, Intermediate and Consumer Goods to Peru (Millions $): Bulk - 115.9(2007) 134.1(2008) 210(2009) 208.1(2010), Intermediate - 21.8(2007) 20.2(2008) 27.1(2009) 27.6(2010), Consumer - 2.2(2007) 2(2008) 1.7(2009) 4.3(2010)


Despite dealing with persistently high poverty rates and the lack of basic infrastructure, Peru was able to sustain 10 years of positive economic growth. Peru's rapid economic growth during this period was likely due to a shift in the economy toward market-oriented reforms and privatization. As a result, the country has been described as the largest reformer in Latin America.

The global financial crisis resulted in a decline in economic activity in the country due to low demand for Peruvian exports. However, growth continued, mainly due to Peru's strong mining and mineral industry. Peru was one of the only Latin American countries to have sustained a positive growth rate during the recession, likely resulting from the continued implementation of its Economic Stimulus Plan. Growth rates are expected to increase as Peru's major trade partners recover from the crisis.

Gross Domestic Product (2009)
GDP $144.8 billion
Real GDP growth 8.9% (2008) 0.9%(2009e)
GDP/capita $4974.5
GDP/capita (PPP) $8,626.198


  • Continued economic success throughout the global economic recession has contributed to Peru's GDP of $144.8 billion.
  • Peru's economy was projected to expand by 5% in 2010
  • Inflation fell to 2.9% in 2009, a decrease from 5.8% in 2008.
  • Unemployment rose slightly from 8.4% in 2008 to 8.6% in 2009.
  • Services account for around 54% of GDP, manufacturing for 14.3%, agriculture at 7.8%, mining at 5.7%, construction at 6.2% and fisheries at 0.44%
  • Peru ranked 36th in 2011 for doing business, up 10 spots from 2010.


  • GDP growth is projected by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to get back on track, reaching about 6% in 2011.
  • Inflation is expected to continue decreasing, reaching under 2% in 2012. It is expected to stabilize after 2012 at around 1.9%.
  • Unemployment is expected to decrease, stabilizing at 7.5% after 2011.
  • The current account balance increased dramatically (105%) in 2009 resulting from strong remittances, a partial recovery in mineral prices and fewer imports of goods and services. This resulted in higher exports than imports, creating a surplus. The current account balance is expected to decrease into a deficit after 2010 as the country recovers and increases imports.

Consumer Market

Although Peru exhibits inequitable distribution of wealth, with a large proportion of its population living in poverty, Peruvian consumers are presenting increasing demand for a more North American way of life. With 71% of the population living in urban areas, and one third of the population residing in Lima, Peruvian citizens have been increasingly exposed to Western retail and food services. Food and non-alcoholic drinks represent the largest category of consumer expenditure in Peru, presenting ample opportunity for Canadian exporters.

Traditionally, Peruvian consumers have three meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Milk, bread, margarine, oats, fruits and eggs are part of the daily breakfast in more than 70% of households. Despite their preference for fresh food, busy urban lifestyles have led to an increase in the number of Peruvian consumers eating out. Urbanization, coupled with rising income levels, has increased the consumption of packaged and processed goods relative to basic foodstuffs like bread. Further urbanization, coupled with busier lifestyles and higher incomes, will lead to an increased demand for large amounts of processed foods (tinned goods), preserved goods and long-life products, along with high-value fresh food products.

Other important industries include alcohol and tobacco and pet food. Alcohol consumption in Peru is relatively high. Peru is known for beer and “pisco”, a high-alcohol grape-based spirit. Consumption of alcohol grew 34.6% between 2005 and 2009. Pet food is another emerging industry in Peru. With increasing incomes, cats and dogs have become popular as pets. This increases the demand for specialty pet foods, catering to a wide range of breeds and sizes.

Retail Food Sector

  • In 2009, Peru's total food retail market reached almost US$16.6 billion, 80% of which is concentrated in Lima. Lima has 70,000 grocery stores and almost 1,250 open markets.
  • In 2009, supermarket chains reached US$2.0 billion in food sales, growing 13.5%.
  • Food sales by modern supermarkets and hypermarkets accounted for about 14% of Peru's total retail food sales in 2009.
  • Leading supermarket chains in Peru are Hipermercados Metro and Supermercados Wong.
  • Hypermarkets are expected to achieve the strongest value growth in grocery retailers (9%) due to continued expansion into low-income areas.
  • Independent small grocers (bodegas) are the most popular and traditional category in grocery retailers.
  • Traditional markets in Peru include 200,000 grocery stores and 2,500 open markets.
  • There exists a strong tradition in Peru of purchasing fresh/unpackaged food, typically sold in market stalls and bodegas.
  • Bodegas have a penetration rate of 80% since they are easily accessible for every household. Bodegas had an 84% share of the food market in 2009.
  • However, grocery retailers registered retail value growth of 7% in 2009. Hypermarkets grew 17% in terms of retail value.
  • The number of hypermarkets operating in Peru increased from 61 in 2008 to 70 in 2009. Two major supermarket chains, Wong and Supermercados Peruanos hold 60% and 28% of the retail market share respectively.

Health Products

  • As health awareness becomes widespread in the general population, consumers in Peru have become more health conscious.
  • As the population ages, an increasing amount of income will be dedicated to areas of consumption that are typical among elderly people, especially items like healthcare and healthcare products.
  • In line with their traditional preference for fresh foods, consumers prefer health products that contain natural ingredients, as they are thought to be more beneficial.
  • In Peru, it has become fashionable for women to be health conscious.
  • Vitamin drinks, energy drinks and protein shakes have increased in demand, responding to consumers wanting to get more out of their fitness activities.
  • In 2009, sales of vitamins and diet supplements increased by 5.8%.
  • Some of the most popular products include slimming creams such as Slim Max, Gel Triple Reductor and Fitoline.
  • The growing concern for health has increased demand for items such as yogurt, protein shakes and exercise bars. Slimming teas have also become especially popular, with sales growing 4% in 2009.
  • Slimming tea is expected to be the fastest growing health product category, reaching a constant value compound annual growth rate of 6% over the forecast period.


Peru's food market presents several opportunities for Canadian agri-food exporters.

  • Demand for peas and lentils in Peru significantly outweighs production. Canada competes well on prices for these commodities.
  • Urbanization, changing demographics, and rising income have increased the consumption of and demand for packaged and processed goods
  • The dairy market in Peru is highly competitive, however not many companies provide finished products.
  • There is ample opportunity for Canadian exporters of juices, specifically vegetable and fruit juices.
  • Pet food is a growing industry, as higher levels of income allow families to care for pets.
  • Wines and liquors are another area in which demand is high, presenting opportunities for alcohol exporters.
  • Peru offers several opportunities for providing machinery, cost-effective fertilizers and irrigation solutions in the domestic market.

For more information on opportunities in Peru, please see Export Development Canada's Trade Opportunities Matrix:


Peru enjoys close ties with the United States (U.S.), which is Peru's number one trade partner. Representatives of Peru and the U.S. negotiated the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA), which was signed in April 2006. The agreement came into force on February 1, 2009, and provides access for two thirds of U.S. food and agricultural products including beef, cotton, wheat, soybeans, fruits and vegetables and processed food.

As a member of several regional organizations including the Inter-American Development Bank and the Andean Community of Nations, Peru also relies heavily on its South American neighbours for imports and exports. Peru has bilateral treaties in place with Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay and Uruguay. Peru grants tariff preference to members of the Andean Community of Nations (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador) and to other South American nations such as Argentina, Brazil and Cuba.

Other important trade partners for Peru include China, which makes up 15.3% of Peru's total trade, the European Union (13.9%), Switzerland (8.4%) and Canada (5.6%). Peru's largest agri-food suppliers include the United States, which accounts for 25% of total agri-food imports, Argentina (21.1%), Chile (8.3%), Canada (7.7%) and Paraguay (7.5%). In addition, Peru is negotiating FTAs with several important international entities like China, Thailand, the European Union, Singapore and Korea.

Access Issues

Peru's market is characterized by strict regulations on imports. However, the liberalization programs carried out by the government have served to reduce barriers to trade, eliminate subsidies to exporters, and grant equal treatment to foreign and domestic investors. The Canada-Peru FTA allowed for the elimination of 95% of tariffs on Canadian exports, allowing better market access for Canadian exporters.

Peru has consistently made efforts to attract foreign investment by increasing the efficiency of doing business. Peru made huge leaps in the World Bank's 2011 Ease of Doing Business Report, ranking 36th in 2011, up 10 spots from the previous year. Peru was ranked as one of the top 10 most improved economies of the year, ranking first in the starting a business and trading across borders categories. By establishing a web-based electronic data interchange system, Peru has sped up document submission and clearance time for goods moving across borders.

Despite progress, much more still needs to be done to ensure unfettered business practices. Excessive bureaucratic procedures have been cited as a notable impediment to doing business. Difficulty in obtaining a license has also been identified as a barrier to business in Peru. The strict enforcement measures at customs can also present difficulties. Documentation must be filled out meticulously and accurately to ensure ease of doing business. Nevertheless, Canadian exporters are in a prime position to pursue trade with Peru resulting from the Canada-Peru FTA.

For more information on tariffs and labelling, please see the United States Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service's Peru Export Guide.

Business Travel Tips

  • Business hours are from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
  • Business dress is conservative; suits and ties for men and dresses and suits for women.
  • Business is conducted in Spanish. Many executives speak English, but promotional literature should be translated into Spanish.
  • It is customary to exchange business cards at the initial meeting.
  • Peruvians accord high importance to personal relationships in business. As such, personal visits are highly recommended.
  • A local presence in the market is of utmost importance in understanding the needs of clients.
  • Exporters and investors should appoint local representatives to investigate market opportunities and establish sales networks.
  • Peruvian time decrees that it is acceptable to arrive half an hour to an hour late for social functions, but punctuality is expected for business.
  • When being introduced, people greet one another with a handshake and use the formal form of "you" ("usted" in Spanish).

For more information, please visit the Department of Canada's Travel Report

Agriculture Sector & Policies

Peru's varied geography is characterized by an arid coastal region, which reaps most of the benefits of growth, the Andes further inland, and tropical areas located close to borders with Colombia and Brazil. The Andes provide Peru with abundant mineral resources, while coastal waters present excellent fishing grounds.

Peru's agribusiness sector is located mainly in coastal regions. The country has recently become a major high-end horticulture exporter. The industry focuses on asparagus, avocados, tomatoes, artichokes, sweet peppers, citrus fruits, and table grapes. There is a thriving aquaculture industry in Peru, focusing mainly on prawns, scallops, trout and tilapia fish. Peru is also a major exporter of coffee, cotton, sugarcane and potatoes among others.

Despite the thriving agricultural business, agriculture represents only 7.8% of GDP in contrast with the services and manufacturing sectors which make up 54% and 14.3% respectively. The agriculture sector employs only 7.6% of the workforce, but is still accorded importance in government policy making. The Peruvian government has taken steps towards ensuring a positive investment climate in agriculture, and is also attempting to build capacities where agricultural production is concerned. Over the past 15 years, Peru has added nearly 400 unique export crops that complement traditional exports.

Contact Information

Peru - LIMA, Embassy of Canada

Address: Calle Bolognesi 228, Miraflores, Lima 18, Peru
Postal Address: P.O. Box 18-1126, Miraflores Post Office, Lima 18, Peru,
Tel: (011-511) 319-3200
Fax: (011-511) 446-4776
Other URL:

Office Hours: Monday-Thursday 0800-1700, Friday 0800-1300
Time Difference: (E.S.T. -1)

Ms. Waleska Rivera
Second Secretary (Commercial)
Trade Commissioner
Agricultural Technology and Equipment, Agriculture, Food and Beverages, Building Products, Fish and Seafood Products, Market Access, Rail and Urban Transit, Service Industries and Capital Projects

Key Resources

  • Austrade – Agribusiness to Peru – April 2010
  • Austrade – Country Overview – 2010
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada - Agriculture, Food & Beverages Sector Profile - Lima, Peru – 2007
  • Buy – Doing Business in Peru – 2009
  • CIA World Factbook – Peru: Background Note – 2011
  • DFAIT - Canada's Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreements
  • DFAIT – Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement – 2011
  • DFAIT – Cultural Information: Peru – 2009
  • Euromonitor – Consumer Lifestyles in Peru – 2010
  • Euromonitor International- Grocery Retailers-Peru – 2010
  • Euromonitor International-Slimming Products-Peru – 2010
  • Euromonitor – Peru Country Profile – 2010
  • European Commission – Peru - 2010
  • Global Trade Atlas – Peru Import and Export Statistics - 2009
  • Government of Canada – Canada-Peru Relations – 2010
  • Government of Canada – Fact Sheet – 2010
  • IMF- World Economic Outlook Database – 2010
  • Industry Canada – Trade Data Online - 2009
  • The World Bank – Peru: Brief – 2010
  • U.S. Department of State – Background Note: Peru - 2010
  • Virtual Trade Commissioner – Peru – 2011