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(LEAD)(Yonhap Interview) Peruvian vice president hopes for further economic ties

All Headlines 15:59 February 26, 2013

(ATTN: ADDS photo)

SEOUL, Feb. 26 (Yonhap) -- Peruvian First Vice President Marisol Espinoza voiced her desire for more South Korean companies to make accelerated inroads into the South American country and gain greater access to resources there.

"Please invest more in Peru, the land of opportunity," Cruz said in an email interview Yonhap News Agency on Tuesday, adding that resource-rich Peru will provide good business opportunities for South Korean firms.

Espinoza is in Seoul to attend South Korean President Park Geun-hye's inauguration ceremony on Monday. They are to meet later Tuesday to discuss wide-ranging issues including further economic ties.

South Korea and Peru implemented their free trade pact in August 2011, with Peru becoming the No.1 investment destination in the South American market, she said. More than 40 South Korean companies, led by SK Energy Co., are already involved in resource development projects.

"Peru is one of the newly industrializing economies," she said, referring to the fact that the Peruvian economy has expanded at an annual rate of more than 6.4 percent over the past 10 years.

The Peruvian politician also said that South Korea, which imports most of its resources, will benefit from investments, as Peru holds roughly a third of the world's key resources, such as zinc.

The Peruvian politician, however, said there are some things to be solved in terms of the trade pact.

"(Peruvian) fresh products are already distributed in the South Korean market. However, there was a delay in a sanitary inspection, stoking the need for two countries to fine-tune this problem," Espinoza said.

She also said that as the relationship between the two countries was elevated to a comprehensive partnership in May of last year, the trade pact needs to be evaluated to that same level as well.

As to the Korean wave which took people in Peru by storm, she welcomed such a phenomenon.

"K-pop and soap operas have taken popularity. It was one of the main factors that made Peruvian people wanting to get to know South Korea more," Espinoza said.

She also said "Gangnam Style" by South Korean pop sensation Psy is one of the most popular songs in Peru.

As a female politician herself, Espinoza congratulated South Korea for having its first female president by saying, "I am confident that Park will successfully accomplish her mission."

She also conveyed a message from Peruvian President Ollanta Humala to congratulate Park and the people of South Korea.

khj@yna.co.kr
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