UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Foreign Relations

Peru generally enjoys generally friendly relations with its neighbors, despite occasional bilateral tension with Chile. In November 1999, Peru and Chile signed three agreements that put to rest the remaining obstacles holding up implementation of the 1929 Border Treaty, which officially ended the 1879 War of the Pacific.

Peru has not been involved in any significant international conflicts since the end of its border dispute with Ecuador in 1998. A brief diplomatic dispute erupted in 2001 between Peru and Venezuela in connection with the capture of the former advisor to Peru’s intelligence agency, Vladimiro Montesinos, in Venezuela. Peru alleged that Venezuela had temporarily hidden and protected Montesinos after formal charges had been brought against him in Peru, a claim that Venezuela denied. Venezuela temporarily severed relations with Peru between June 28 and July 28, 2001, but relations between the two countries have since been completely restored.

In addition, Peru and Chile continue to dispute the maritime boundary allegedly delineated in the 19th century War of the Pacific. Nonetheless, the two countries enjoy a good relationship. On November 4, 2004, the Foreign Ministers of Peru and Chile signed a joint statement expressing an intent to forge closer ties and develop bilateral relations.

In July 2003, Peru presented a formal extradition request to the Japanese government for Alberto Fujimori, based on criminal charges. The request was rejected by the Japanese government due to Fujimori’s Japanese citizenship. On October 15, 2004, Peru made a second request for extradition based on forgery and embezzlement charges. Japan tabled its consideration of this request.

The emergence of highly nationalistic forces in Peru's political system during the 1960s was accompanied by a marked shift in the nation's approach to foreign relations. A desire to alter Peru's traditionally passive role in foreign affairs, which had led to what was perceived as inordinate influence by foreign countries — and particularly the United States — in the political and economic life of the nation, became a central objective of the Velasco Alvarado regime.

During the 1970s, Peru's military government sought an independent, nonaligned course in its foreign relations that paralleled the mixed socioeconomic policies of its domestic reform program. Diplomatic dealings and foreign trade were thus diversified; official contacts with the nations of the communist world, Western Europe, and Asia were significantly expanded during the decade, while the United States' official presence receded from its once predominant position. Multilateral relations, particularly with Latin American neighbors that shared economic and political interests common to many Third World nations, also assumed a new importance.

Peru's foreign policy initiatives were undertaken in part as an effort to gain international support for the military government's experiment in "revolution from above." The initial success of many programs of the military government brought it considerable international prestige and thus, during the early 1970s, Peru became a leading voice for Third World nations. As the fortunes of the Peruvian experiment fell during the late 1970s, however, its international profile receded markedly. The Belaunde government deemphasized further the nonaligned stance of the military government while working toward closer relationships with the United States and the nations of Latin America.

Peru had established a strong military relationship with the Soviets and Eastern Europe during the Velasco years and was the Soviets' largest military client on the continent in the 1970s. Because of a reliance on Soviet military equipment, the relationship with Moscow continued, although Peru diversified its source of supply of weapons and bought from countries ranging from France to North Korea. In addition, like its relationship with Cuba, Peru's relationship with the Russians diminished in importance as Russia and Peru turned inward to deal with domestic crises and economic rather than strategic issues dominated the agenda.

By 1985 the Soviets, who maintained extensive links with "progressive nationalists" in the officer corps, were hoping that the changed situation might provide them with opportunities to establish a base in the Andes. More than 200 Soviet military advisers had been seeking to exploit Peru's prevailing statist philosophy and the defensive paranoia of some military men derived from a history of conflict with hostile neighbors - Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador - to which it has been obliged to cede territory in past wars whose memory was kept alive in schools and cadet courses. And it was no accident that the irruption of a major guerrilla campaign that served to undermine both the economy and public confidence coincided with the inauguration of a moderate democratic government after a period of dictatorial rule by leftist generals broadly sympathetic to Moscow and Havana.

There is surely no category of research which varies between the US and South America as much as does the literature dealing with boundary disputes. Almost all of the South American works argue a particular position from a legal point of view (references to old treaties, agreements, etc.), invariably favoring the position of the country in which the work is published. The most important of these disputes (setting aside the Malvinas/Falkland situation which is dealt with separately) have to do with: the distribution of control over the waters projecting out from the Colombian-Venezuelan border; the disputed jungle area between Peru and Ecuador; Peru and Bolivia's complaints about their loss of territory to Chile after the War of the Pacific; the now-settled (at least temporarily) dispute between Argentina and Chile over the Beagle Channel; and Venezuela's contested boundary with Guyana. The jingoistic nature of most of this literature leads one to question its reliability.

Given the obvious importance of nationalism in this century, perhaps one should not be surprised, but depressingly few of these boundary studies have even the faintest hint of objectivity. Hopefully there will be more analytical work on these disputes in the future, but it must be almost of necessity by scholars outside the countries involved.

A North American scholar may be tempted to see this proliferation of one-sided analyses of obscure border disputes as a bit quaint, a sign of a kind of overly-sensitive Latin American nationalism. However, it is well to remember that today the US confronts no important boundary disputes. During the previous century, when the US did have a number of unresolved border questions, the attitude of Washington and the American people was certainly one of rampant patriotism. US libraries are full of 19th-century books which too closely resemble these 20th-century Latin American ones.

Peru has not been involved in any significant international conflicts since the end of its border dispute with Ecuador in 1998. A brief diplomatic dispute erupted in 2001 between Peru and Venezuela in connection with the capture of the former advisor to Peru’s intelligence agency, Vladimiro Montesinos, in Venezuela. Peru alleged that Venezuela had temporarily hidden and protected Montesinos after formal charges had been brought against him in Peru, a claim that Venezuela denied. Venezuela temporarily severed relations with Peru between June 28 and July 28, 2001, but relations between the two countries were normalized.

Since 1990, Peru has been a member of the Community of Andean Nations, which also includes Bolivia, Colombia and Ecuador. This organization seeks to promote economic integration and cooperation. As of December 31, 2005, a free trade zone between the members of the Community of Andean Nations was effectively created. The common market provides for the free trade of goods, services, capital and people between its member countries. In April 1998, the Community of Andean Nations signed a framework agreement with the Common Market of the South, or Mercosur, whose members are Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, to create a free trade zone between the two economic blocs. The Community of Andean Nations has also reached bilateral agreements with Brazil and Argentina as a first step towards the creation of free trade arrangements with these countries. On December 16, 2003, the Community of Andean Nations reached a trade pact with Mercosur.

Since 1990, Peru has been a beneficiary of the General System of Preferences for the Andean Countries, a program of unilateral trade preferences granted by the European Union that is intended to promote economic development in the Andean region. Under the program, the European Union sets zero tariffs for fishing, agriculture and textile products from Peru. This program was scheduled to expire on December 31, 2001, but was automatically extended for three years on December 10, 2001. In June 2005, a new General System of Preferences was adopted in accordance with the new rules set forth by the WTO, and the program was extended until December 2008.

Since 1991, Peru has been, together with Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia, a beneficiary of the U.S. ATPDEA, a program of unilateral trade preferences granted by the United States to promote export diversification and broad-based economic development as an alternative to drug-crop production in the Andean region. The United States has repeatedly renewed ATPDEA with the last renewal expiring on December 31, 2009. The ATPDEA was extended on December 31, 2010 for a period of six weeks that expired on February 12, 2011.

Although a majority of Peruvian exporters no longer required the benefits of the ATPDEA given the approval of free trade agreement with the United States, or US FTA, which became effective in February 2009, an important group of textile manufacturers and assembly plants benefited from the ATPDEA’s preferential tariff provisions that required lower composition of imported content in exported products. However, the US FTA will allow imports of assembled products and textiles into the North American market, as provided in the agreement.

In 1994, Peru participated in the Summit of the Americas in Miami, which led to the establishment of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas. This agreement seeks to create a free trade zone in the Western Hemisphere, which, if implemented, would grant preferential treatment to Peruvian goods and services exported to other member countries.

Since November 1998, Peru has been a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, which seeks to achieve free trade in the Asia-Pacific region through a progressive reduction in the tariffs of its member countries. This organization establishes trade rules in areas of foreign investments, rules of origin, customs procedures, technical barriers to trade, unfair trade practices, promotion of competition, intellectual property and dispute resolution.

In August 2003, Peru signed an agreement with Brazil to become an associate member of Mercosur. On December 16, 2003, Peru was accepted as an associate member of Mercosur. Mercosur, formed by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, also includes associate members Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela, which will become a member. Mercosur seeks to create a full common market in goods, services and factors of production among its members and to establish common external tariffs for trade with non-members. Peru expects to gradually eliminate its trade barriers with the members of Mercosur, with a goal of barrier-free trade with Paraguay and Uruguay in 13 years and with Argentina and Brazil in 15 years.

On December 8, 2004, Peru, together with Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela, signed an agreement to create the South American Community of Nations, envisioned as an economic and political block similar to the European Union that ultimately will have a single currency.

Peru has been a member of the United Nations since 1949, and was a member of the Security Council in 2006 and 2007. Peruvian Javier Perez de Cuellar served as UN Secretary General from 1981 to 1991.

Peru maintained 210 troops in peacekeeping operations in Haiti under the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 24-09-2017 18:51:51 ZULU