Peru and Thailand: signed free-trade agreement

Peru has signed a free-trade agreement with Thailand, a pact that is expected to generate a bilateral exchange of US$500 million (Ђ425 million) annually, Peru's official gazette reported Saturday.

The agreement, Peru's first commercial pact with an Asian country, was signed by Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo and Thailand's Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Busan, South Korea, according to the government newspaper El Peruano.

Toledo said that 75 percent of the goods detailed in the agreement are Peruvian, allowing for the export of products such as fishmeal, squid, mangoes, asparagus and silver jewelry to Thailand.

The Peruvian leader added that the agreement has "similar significance for Thailand because Peru will become its launch pad to South America."

The agreement "will mean close to US$500 million in additional revenue and the generation of close to 300,000 jobs," Toledo was quoted saying in El Peruano, reported AP. P.T.