LIMA (Reuters) - India and Peru plan to start negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement covering goods, services and investments sometime in the first quarter, Peru said on Wednesday.
The Cabinet of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved a feasibility study on the proposed deal on Wednesday, clearing the way for the start of formal talks, Peru's Trade Ministry said in a statement.
Peru said an initial technical meeting in the first quarter would mark the first time that India, one of the world's biggest and fastest-growing economies, negotiated a comprehensive trade deal with a Latin American country.
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Peru is a leading producer of copper, gold and fishmeal and was one of 12 signatories of the U.S.-proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to scrap.
After last year's U.S. presidential election, Peru said it hoped to join the rival Beijing-backed trade deal, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, that several TPP economies as well as India have been negotiating.
Peru, with a population of 30 million, is one of Latin America's most open and fastest-growing economies.
Peru's exports to India would likely rise 12 percent if the two countries passed a free trade deal, with clothes, fruits and vegetables, and chemical products poised to benefit the most, the ministry said.
(Reporting by Mitra Taj; Editing by Peter Cooney)