South Korea should partner with Peru to utilize new gas deposits, said Paul Duclos, the newly appointed Peruvian ambassador to Korea, in an interview with The Korea Herald.
Peru is seeking investment for a new gas field with the potential to match the needs of the Camisea gas project, said Duclos, urging Korea to build new infrastructure to tap, extract and export gas.
Peru's Camisea gas project extracts gas in the Amazon basin and transports it to the coast via two pipelines hundreds of kilometers long.
Referring to Peru Petro's attendance at the World Gas Conference in Daegu in May 2022, the ambassador affirmed Peru’s intention to promote investments in the oil and gas industry.
"Korea is one of the main importers of gas from Peru transported through LNG carriers," Duclos highlighted, referring to SK Innovation operations in Camisea.
Duclos cited the Pampa Melchorita LNG plant's production of gas, which is Peru's second-largest export to Korea.
"It's helping to ease the current energy crisis," Duclos said, pointing to a comprehensive strategic association established between Peru and Korea to prioritize cooperation since 2012.
"Korea was the partner for Peru's fifth free trade agreement in 2011," he said.
The Peru-Korea FTA facilitated sustained growth by increasing Peruvian agricultural and industrial exports to Korea and Korean investments in Peru.
Duclos hoped that Korea would join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in the future.
The CPTPP is a free trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
According to Duclos, complementary visions allowed Peru to agree with Korea on various issues, including the negotiation of an agreement combating plastic pollution, currently chaired by Peru.
The agreement is a resolution proposed by Peru and supported by more than 60 countries at the UN Environment Assembly to promote negotiations for combating plastic pollution. The fourth negotiations meeting will be held in Seoul next year, Duclos said.
Meanwhile, Duclo also highlighted Peru’s permanent support for denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. Peru has consistently condemned North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missile tests, said Duclos.
Duclos said that the FTA between Peru and Korea had acted as a favorable framework for doing business, referring to the Peru-Korea commercial exchange that hit almost $4 billion in 2022.
Korea has become Peru's fifth-largest trading partner, with trade growing more than $1 billion compared to 2020, and sixfold since 2010.
He said the advantages offered by the Peru-Korea bilateral commercial framework helped keep supply chains uninterrupted.
Peru will continue to expand trade in traditional and mineral products such as agro-industrial and hydrobiological products, he said.
Korean companies are engaged in infrastructure, agriculture, fisheries and hydrocarbons among other industries, the envoy said, citing Dohwa Engineering, Hyundai Engineering and Construction, SK Innovation and others as examples.
According to Duclos, Korea is well known for producing technological products such as appliances, cars, televisions, batteries and equipment of all kinds in Peru, citing the Korea Airports Corporation’s stake in the supervision and construction of the Chincheros Airport in Peru.
However, he highlighted the need to prioritize investment in infrastructure, especially to mitigate the effects of climate change.
"The current struggles of the Yaku cyclone show that Peru needs to prioritize investment in infrastructure projects,” the ambassador stressed, urging Peru and Korea to supply each other with products that the other does not have.
He also urged Korean companies to take advantage of Peru's macroeconomic stability, friendly investment environment and open trade policy which enables access to crucial international markets.
"Foreign investors do not need previous authorization to carry out investments in Peru. Foreigners -- natural or juridical persons -- are under the same condition as nationals to own land in Peru," Duclos stressed.
Peru seeks to enhance awareness of its presence in Korean society, promote political and commercial rapprochement and bring new products to the Korean market through fairs and commercial missions.
He referred to Korea's development achievements in governmental and digital transformation under the framework of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Korea's leadership in the World Organization of Sustainable Smart Cities, or WeGO.
WeGo is an association of cities and other local governments based in Seoul that aims to transform cities into smart, sustainable cities.
According to Duclos, WeGo promotes a culture of scientific innovation to develop digital services at all levels, citing Lima, Cuzco and Urubamba among the participating cities.
Duclos said he hopes Peru and Korea will coordinate to host the upcoming APEC Forums in 2024 and 2025.