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Sat 25 Aug 2018 12:36 AM

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Peru trade group seeks direct flights to bolster UAE exports

Peru's Trade, Tourism and Investment Office says lack of direct flights between Dubai and Lima is continuing to subdue trade between the two countries

Peru trade group seeks direct flights to bolster UAE exports
Lima, the capital city of Peru.

Peru’s Trade, Tourism and Investment Office (TTIOP) has revealed that exports to the UAE have risen 100-fold in seven years.

Exports from Peru increased from $6 million in 2011 to $600 million last year thanks to increasing demand from consumers and the ongoing work of the TTIOP, the Dubai-based economic and commercial office of Peru’s Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism.

But it added that a lack of direct flights between Dubai and Lima is continuing to subdue trade between the two countries.

The TTIOP said it has been able to increase exports to the UAE despite a variety of challenges, such as the distance between the two countries and a lack of awareness among businesses.
But it said the biggest obstacle remains the absence of direct flights between the countries, with cargo as well as airline passengers required to transit through other airports.

“Our greatest challenge is connectivity. It takes around 42 days to ship goods from Peru to the UAE, so produce is often shipped to a port in Europe and from there flown to Dubai,” said Alvaro Silva-Santisteban, director of the TTIOP.

“A connecting flight between Dubai and Lima would certainly help. Using a European hub means additional cost and thus a product that is more expensive, so your Peruvian avocado or mango is going to cost more. It also means tourists face issues in getting to Peru, especially UAE residents who prefer to fly direct with the country’s major airlines.”

Since 2016, major UAE businesses such as DP World and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority have made multi-million-dollar investments in the country’s shipping, logistics and energy sectors, a statement said.

It added that the UAE imports a range of goods from the South American country from avocados, quinoa, and asparagus, to gold, high-quality craft products and clothing.

Peru, a country of 31 million people, more than 14,800 kilometres and nine time-zones away from the UAE, counts the Emirates among its top 20 export markets.

“We have worked hard to increase our gold exports since 2014,” said Silva-Santisteban. “The UAE is now amongst the top six countries that Peru exports gold to and ranks as the number one individual product, however food has seen the greatest growth and is the most diversified basket of products we export to the UAE.”

The TTIOP was set up in Dubai in 2011, with the aim of encouraging not only companies in the UAE to import products from Peru, but to also help businesses in the South American country to see the UAE as a lucrative market.

“The leap in exports from Peru to the UAE has been huge,” he said. “The relationship between the two countries has grown in importance over the years to an extent that at the end of last year Peru became the second largest investment destination for Emirati companies in South America, and amongst the three biggest trading partners for the UAE in Latin America... The aim now is to turn these steppingstones into pillars as we position Dubai as a platform for the region."