Roncagliolo told the global publishing, research and consultancy firm Oxford Business Group (OBG) that while the concept of Latin American integration dated back centuries, the current climate of international economic uncertainty heightened the need for greater regional cooperation.
He said that while the roles of organisations like the Union of South American Nations (Unión de Naciones Suramericanas, UNASUR) and the Andean Community (Comunidad Andina, CAN) had changed over the years, they still had a key part to play in areas such as intra-regional trade, improvements to transport infrastructure and resource development.
“The idea of Latin American integration is 200 years old and, today, UNASUR is its most dynamic manifestation,” he said. “We initiated the Council of Economy Ministers to plan strategies to confront the global crisis and we have education and health councils. We have also integrated road infrastructure, which is crucial, as it connects north and south, Atlantic and Pacific. This is very important for developing the region.”
Roncagliolo added that CAN had become an important free trade area, helping businesses across the region in intra-regional trade while also supporting them in tapping new markets. “Trade between Andean countries has a high degree of added value and includes participation by small and medium-sized enterprises,” he said.
Roncagliolo said while Peru planned to expand its economic relations to boost growth, it would also take steps to ensure foreign investment brought development opportunities for its people.
“Our bilateral-agreements will bring in technology and get scholarships for Peruvians so they gain advanced training, helping improve their employment options,” he said.
The full interview with Roncagliolo will appear in The Report: Peru 2012, the Group’s first-time guide on the country’s economic activity and investment opportunities.