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1. Peru export overview
Peru offers opportunities for UK companies across a wide range of sectors. The World Bank ranks Peru as the 58th easiest country in the world to do business in, but the second easiest in the Latin America / Caribbean region.
The UK is the second largest foreign investor in Peru.
Contact a Department for International Trade (DIT) Peru export adviser for a free consultation if you’re interested in exporting to Peru.
Strengths of the Peruvian market include:
- a stable democratic political system
- its huge natural resources
- a growing middle class
- the huge pipeline of over £30 billion in investment projects
- a commitment to free trade making it one of the most open markets in the region
- the highest growth rate in Latin America over the last decade
- the lowest inflation in Latin America over the last decade
- a tradition of stability and prudent economic policies and structural reforms
2. Challenges of doing business in Peru
- bureaucracy in the public sector, especially at local levels which can delay projects
- tension over natural resource extraction with the native population
- English not widely spoken in the public sector or smaller private sector companies
- poor research and technical development
You should ensure you take the necessary steps to comply with the requirements of the UK Bribery Act.
Read the latest Overseas Business Risk report for Peru.
3. Growth potential in Peru
3.1 Economic growth in Peru
Peru is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. It’s the 49th largest economy in the world by gross domestic product (GDP). Growth has averaged 5.9% over the last decade giving Peru the leading growth rate in Latin America.
3.2 Peru’s free trade agreements
Peru is committed to free trade. More than 92.2% of its trade is covered by free trade agreements (FTAs), including one with the European Union.
Peru had a founding role in the free trading Pacific Alliance bloc and has an active participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.
4. UK and Peru trade
Trade in goods and services between the UK and Peru totalled £561 million in 2016. The UK exported £158 million (70.9%) goods and £65 million (29.1%) services to Peru in 2015.
The main goods exported from the UK to Peru in 2016 were:
- beverages, spirits and vinegar
- boilers and machinery
- vehicles (not railway or tramway)
- electrical and electronic equipment
5. Opportunities for UK businesses in Peru
DIT provides free international export sales leads from its worldwide network. Find export opportunities in Peru.
5.1 Infrastructure sector in Peru
The Peruvian government awarded £16 billion in public projects from 2011 to 2017. £11.5 billion is planned for 2017. Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) are the main financing model.
Infrastructure opportunities exist in:
- design, build and operation
- project financing
- professional services
Some of the major infrastructure projects for the coming years will be:
- the restoration of the Huancayo - Huancavelica railway (£127 million)
- project management of Line 2 of the Lima metro
- the modernisation and restoration of the Salaverry port terminal, located in Trujillo province (£308 million)
- Lima’s 5 complimentary bus corridors (£518 million)
- the construction of a peripheral ring road connecting 12 districts in Lima (£731 million)
Contact Carlos.Chau@fco.gov.uk for more information on infrastructure opportunities in Peru.
5.2 Defence and security sector in Peru
The defence and security industry in Peru is growing. The government and private sector are looking for new ways to improve security and invest in protection, and are keen to partner with UK companies. G4S have a large market share.
There are opportunities in large defence projects and internal security requirements including:
- air defence systems
- forensics and investigations
- upgrading and renewing air and ground equipment
- training (armed forces and national police)
- upgrade and equip vessels of the Peruvian Navy (patrol vessels, multipurpose ships, training vessel and others)
- biometric passport systems
- security for major events including Pan Am Games
Contact Maricarmen.Larrauri@fco.gov.uk for more information on defence and security opportunities in Peru.
The Export Control Organisation (ECO) issues licences for the export of strategic goods. You must check your goods are meeting legal requirements for export.
5.3 Oil and gas sector in Peru
There are oil and gas reserves in all of Peru’s territories. The Camisea gas field has recently moved Peru into the big league of gas players, with proven natural gas reserves of 14.6 trillion cubic feet. Peru’s oil reserves are roughly 1.4 billion barrels, with production of 117,000 barrels per day (bpd). Low oil prices has resulted in less exploration in remote areas.
Opportunities for the UK oil and gas supply chain include the construction of:
- the Apurimac Ayacucho, Huancavelica, Junin, Cusco and Ucayali gas network
- a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) distribution network for Lima and Callao
Contact Michelle.DeRivero@fco.gov.uk for more information on oil and gas opportunities in Peru.
5.4 Mining sector in Peru
Peru is a giant of the global mining industry, and the sector is the foundation of the Peruvian economy. Only Chile and China produce more copper, and Peru is the seventh largest global producer of gold, and the third largest of silver. Private companies, including Anglo American, operate under long-term government licences that control all mining activity in Peru.
The sector has a planned investment of £36 billion at different stages of development. There are UK supply chain opportunities across the mining lifecycle.
Typically projects in Peru will involve:
- 45% construction
- 40% capital goods
- 5% engineering
- 5% transport and services
- 5% management and supervision
Contact Michelle.DeRivero@fco.gov.uk for more information on mining opportunities in Peru.
5.5 Healthcare sector in Peru
Demand for health services has grown in recent years with private health services seeing an annual 12% growth. There’s a need for increased efficiency in the delivery of services through PPPs.
There are plans in the next 3 years to construct 10 new hospitals and more than 700 strategic facilities as part of a £1.6 billion investment pipeline. The health ministry is keen to implement a PPP programme and is looking carefully at the UK model. In future some services will be through private sector contracts..
Contact Maricarmen.Larrauri@fco.gov.uk for more information on opportunities in the healthcare sector in Peru.
5.6 Life sciences sector in Peru
The expansion of Peru’s middle class over the past 20 years increased private health insurance penetration rates. Demand for pharmaceuticals and medical equipment have increased alongside the number of public hospitals and private clinics in Peru.
Peru is a net importer of pharmaceuticals. The Ministry of Health is the biggest importer of pharmaceuticals.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on life sciences opportunities in Peru.
5.7 Reconstruction sector in Peru
Peru experienced its worst floods in 30 years during March and April 2017, with 113 dead, 41,000 collapsed homes and 1 million affected people.
The Peruvian government has created a National Reconstruction Authority which will focus on roughly $5 billion of rehabilitation and new infrastructure. Projects include:
- the construction of 360 new bridges
- rehabilitation of 1,400 schools, 900 health centres and the implementation of 65 bridges
- the construction of 700 additional schools, sidewalls and roads
- relocation of houses in flood dangerous areas
Contact Carlos.Chau@fco.gov.uk for more information on reconstruction opportunities in Peru.
5.8 Lima2019 Pan American Games
The UK and Peru signed a Government to Government (G2G) agreement in April 2017 making the UK the key partner in the delivery of the Lima2019 Pan American Games – the fourth largest major sporting event in the world.
Opportunities for UK companies exist in:
- construction and fit-out
- event delivery and legacy
- provision of temporary power, communications, security and catering
The main projects include:
- Maria del Triunfo Sports Complex Village
- Surf Sport Complex in Punta Roca
- Callao Regional Sports Village
- National Sports Village in San Luis
Contact Carlos.Chau@fco.gov.uk for more information on opportunities at Lima2019 in Peru.
6. Start-up considerations in Peru
The options for doing business in Peru include:
- setting up a foreign owned company
- setting up a branch office
- establishing a joint venture
- finding an agent or distributor
The main company types in Peru for foreign owned companies are:
- private corporations
- private closed corporations
- public corporations
- limited liability company
Representative offices are not considered a valid company legal form. There is no regulation on how to ‘incorporate or establish’ a representation office in Peru.
Legal documents may be required and will need to be certified by the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MRE).
If you are planning on doing business in Peru, you’ll need to register with Proinversion, the authorised government agency.
You should seek legal advice as the tax and legal obligations of each business structure can differ.
7. Legal considerations in Peru
Peru has adopted a legal system that promotes and protects foreign investors´ interests. Foreign investors are treated as nationals in Peru.
The political constitution and the legal system guarantee:
- private property rights
- the fulfilment of contracts
- free capital transfer and remittance of earnings
- unrestricted access to internal and external credit
- unrestricted access to most economic sectors
However, there are certain restrictions which apply for specific sectors, such as weaponry, security and air/maritime transport.
Financial oversight is undertaken by the:
- Central Reserve Bank of Peru (BCRP) which regulates the currency and credit in the financial system
- Superintendent of Banking, Insurance and Pension Funds (SBS) which preserves the interests of depositors and has responsibility for preventing and detecting money laundering and terrorism
- Superintendent of Securities Market (SMV) which ensures investor protection and efficiency of the markets
7.1 Legal Stability Agreement in Peru
The Peruvian state offers a Legal Stability Agreement for businesses investing:
- over at least a 2 year term
- £6 million in the mining and hydrocarbon sector
- £3 million in any other economic activity
You must register with Proinversion to enjoy the benefits of the agreement, which include:
- tax stability - including income, export labour and certain tax exemptions
- acceptance of currencies other than Peruvian Nuevos Soles (eg euro, US dollar)
- non-discrimination for exchange rate and capital transfer
- option of keeping accounting in a foreign currency
7.2 Property ownership in Peru
If you are doing business in Peru, you are subject to the same rights as Peruvians except for some limitations within 50 km from the national borders.
Real estate ownership is generally absolute. You should be represented by a real estate agent during the transaction. The whole process of registering a property takes around 33 days. Transfer of real property must be made by public deed.
Notary publics are obliged to report to the tax authorities all transfers they register. All deeds must be hand-written and kept in the notary registry.
To ensure that the title is clean, a Property Registry Certificate must be obtained from the property registry. This ascertains the property’s existence and information details, and if it is free of mortgage debt, liens, or any other encumbrance.
7.3 Standards and technical regulations in Peru
According to Law Decree 1304 every product sold for consumption in Peru must have a label that includes:
- the product name and country of origin
- the expiry date, conditions for preservation (in Spanish)
- net content in units or mass of volume
- lot code number
- name, address and tax specification number (RUC) of the manufacturer, importer, packager or distributor in Peru (in Spanish).
- warning of any foreseeable risk or danger that could arise from the product and urgent care instructions (in Spanish)
A sanitary certificate issued by Dirección General de Medicamentos, Insumos y Drogas (DIGEMID) (site in Spanish) is mandatory for the import of:
- bio-chemical preparations
- medical equipment, devices and materials
The sanitary certificate must be obtained prior to export. This procedure could take between 6 months to one year.
La Dirección General de Salud Ambiental (DIGES) (site in Spanish) regulates the quality and safety of imports of:
- food products
- alcoholic beverages
7.4 Intellectual property (IP) in Peru
Companies that own a protected right can register with the Customs Administration Agency (SUNAT) to request the suspension of imports presumed to be fake, very similar trademarks or pirated goods violating copyright.
8. Tax and customs considerations in Peru
The Superintendent of Tax Administration (SUNAT) is responsible for the administration of tax and customs.
8.1 Tax considerations in Peru
The Peruvian fiscal year is the calendar year, running from January to December.
Value Added Tax (VAT) in Peru
The VAT rate in Peru is 18%.
If your company is in not yet operational in Peru, you can recover VAT (known as IGV in Peru). To qualify, you must:
- be at least 2 years at pre-operative stage
- have an agreement with the government
- have invested at least £3 million
Holders of mine concessions and oil and gas agreements must apply for special agreements regarding this benefit.
Corporate income tax in Peru
Income tax for companies located in Peru is 30% on net income. For non-domiciled companies, a 30% rate is placed on their Peruvian source income only.
Excise tax in Peru
A Selective Consumption Tax is set on purchases of specific goods such as fuels, cigarettes, beer, liquors, carbonated drinks and gambling and bets.
It’s applied under 3 systems:
- specific, involving a fixed amount in Nuevos Soles
- at value which is based on a percentage of the sales price
- retail price based on the percentage of the price suggested to the public for the good
8.2 Customs considerations in Peru
Customs duties are imposed on the cost, insurance and freight (CIF) value of imported goods. Based on its value, rates of 0%, 9% and 17% are imposed. Many goods are exempted since Peru is party to over 70 bilateral commercial agreements, including a free trade agreement with the European Union.
Raw material imports transformed into exportable products, within a specific time frame, are not subject to tax under the Temporary Admission for Passive Perfecting procedure. Lubricants, fuels or other energy resources are not subjected to the Temporary Admission for Passive Perfecting regime.
Find more information on customs requirements in Peru.
The Market Access Database provides information on import conditions into Peru, including:
- import tariffs
- customs clearance formalities and documentation
- sanitary (animal related) and phytosanitary (plant related) restrictions
Free trade zones in Peru
Peru has 4 free trade zones including:
- the zone of export treatment (in Chimbote, Ilo, Matarini, Paita and Trujillo)
- tourist zones
- special trade zones (with 10% Customs duty and tax exemption)
- development zones
8.3 Documentation for Peru
Customs documentation which must be included by exporters in shipments include:
- the original invoice (translated to Spanish)
- a full description of the products per item with brand and model
- commodity codes
- unit value per number, quantity and unit of measure
- total value of shipment
- sender’s logo
- manufacturer’s details
- importer’s contact details
- currency and selected Incoterm
9. Business behaviour in Peru
Many business people speak excellent English. English is less widely spoken amongst government officials and private sector employees in smaller businesses.
Brochures and presentations at meetings should be in Spanish.
10. Entry requirements for Peru
All visitors must have a valid passport and visa. A visa is not required for tourism. Business visitors need to have a business visa. Business visa holders can usually remain in Peru for up to 183 days.
You must have a business visa to incorporate a company, establish a branch or sign contracts. A special permit may be available for those who only have a tourist visa.
10.1 Travel advice for Peru
If you’re travelling to Peru for business, check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice first.
11. DIT contacts for Peru
Contact a local DIT trade adviser in the UK if you are interested in finding out more about doing business in Peru.
Contact the DIT team in Peru for more information and advice on opportunities for doing business in Peru.