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December 15, 2010 3:44:39

Interview: Luxury Italian outfitter Zegna and Peru's vicuña wool

Paola Zegna, head of luxury men's outfitter Ermenegildo Zegna, checks up on vicuñas in Puno, Peru. (Photo:

By Alejandra Costa La Cruz, El Comercio
Adapted from Spanish by Fiorella Carrascal

Paolo Zegna was only some hours in Peru. Nevertheless, the Italian, in perfect Spanish, said that his relation with Peru started 16 years ago.

The president of one of the leaders in luxurious men clothing, the Ermenegildo Zegna Group, traveled to Peru to talk to Alan García about an urgent topic: preserving the quality of the Peruvian vicuña wool, one of the finest and most expensive fibers in the world.

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November 9, 2010 13:58:27

Peru company sells salt from Maras as luxury good

Since 2004 Tierra del Monte has been producing luxury salt goods from natural salt mines in Cusco's Sacred Valley. Here, gourmet kitchen salt is

By Miguel Ángel Farfán,
El Comercio
Adapted from Spanish by Diana Schwalb

Six years ago, during a gathering with friends, Francesco Canchari discovered that the pink salt from Maras, a community in Cusco's Urubamba Valley, had great demand in France. What may have just been a random fact about a Peruvian product for some, became a great entrepreneurial idea for him. So Canchari, who was manager in a pharmaceutical company, traveled to Maras. Once there, he talked to the local people, tried the salt and began making commercial plans. His company, Tierra del Monte, began in 2004 and by 2005, had a growth of 167% in exports. He is currently still diversifying his products and dividing his time between his work at the pharmaceutical company and his own enterprise.

Why is salt from Maras so special?
It is one of the few natural salts that are rich in flavor and history. The Incas produced it 600 years ago. That is why it is so successful in restaurants in Lima and Cusco, and also overseas.

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September 7, 2010 16:04:01

Exporting Peru's wood: Seeking investment in forestry

The wood and timber industry in Peru.
Source: Reforesta Peru, via El Comercio. Graphics by

By Marienella Ortiz, El Comercio
Adapted from Spanish by Diana Schwalb

Isabel Franchini, general manager of Maderas Peruanas, noted with astonishment how each month the wood accumulated in the storage rooms. One Italian customer, a monthly buyer $100,000 worth of flooring and other wood products, stopped ordering for six consecutive months. It was 2009, the dismal year of the crisis which had serious consequences for timber exports. So Franchini stopped looking outside and started observing inside. In less than a year, she launched a line of products in Villa El Salvador, a district in Lima. These were parts and pieces to assemble furniture of better quality than those made with soft wood, usually imported from Chile.

During the first half of 2010, exports of wood products from Peru have increased by 31 percent compared to the previous year, according to figures just released by Peru's export association. But Franchini's experience makes it clear to  that the domestic niche also represents a great opportunity. Other figures support this: in 2008 Peru imported more than $800 million of wood.

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August 23, 2010 14:27:15

Starting an alpaca export business in Peru

By Kate Robertson

Starting an alpaca export business in Peru
Artisans that make Mayu brand alpaca garments in Ancash, Peru. (Photo courtesy of Mayu)
As I write this, I'm laying in bed with my netbook under four alpaca blankets in a rural village in Ancash, Peru. The altitude here is 3,800 meters (12,464 feet) and because there is no heat, my hands are so cold that I can barely type. I've just finished a three-hour meeting  with Mayu's artisans (during which we indulged in American pretzels and sweet, Peruvian pastries). I'm wondering why I'm not wearing a pair of alpaca gloves, the fingerless ones, so I can still type! I look forward to morning when I can bask in the warm sun and take in the magnificent view of the Cordillera Huayhuash.

This story begins in 2003 after graduating from university when I joined the Peace Corps and was sent to Peru. I had never been to South America and spoke very little Spanish. Upon learning that I was going to Peru, I spent hours in front of the Internet, trying to learn as much as I could about what would be in store for the next two years. Little did I know nothing I'd find on the computer would prepare me for the time I'd spend in the Peace Corps. I loved my experience in the Andes Mountains (despite serious challenges, frustrations and weekly breakdowns) and as a result, I've remained very connected to the country and the people I met while there.

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July 6, 2010 10:30:41

Franchising Peru's pollo a la brasa: Interview with Las Canastas restaurant

Miguel Castillo is owner of Las Canastas, one of Peru's franchises for pollo a la brasa, or rotisserie chicken. (Photo by M. Isabel Guerra)

The pollo a la brasa chain Las Canastas has opened eight new branches in the past three years. Owner Miguel Castillo says the formula for success is through franchises, and assures there will be a Las Canastas open in Texas at the end of 2010.

By Nathan Paluck

Twenty-three years ago Miguel Castillo started a rotisserie chicken joint in the northern end of Lima, Peru, serving students from a nearby university.

Now the chicken dish, pollo a la brasa, has become the most popular food in gastronomy-obsessed Peru and receives recognition abroad. The rapid expansion in Castillo's La Canastas, however, has more to do with business strategy.

“We've seen that growth should be through franchising,” Castillo told one recent morning in a Las Canastas branch. “In twenty years we opened three, then in three years we opened eight establishments. It's the formula for growth through franchises.”

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June 29, 2010 19:31:56

Peru call centers show rapid growth, compete with Chile and Colombia

By Alberto Limache Ramírez, El Comercio
Adapted from Spanish by Diana Schwalb

There are 35 call centers in Peru that offer customer services as well as telephone sales. The presence of these service started in 2001 when Atento -- back then a call center for the Telefonica group -- began operations in Lima. Since then, various national and foreign companies have joined this business to meet the demand for these services by the financial, telecommunications, energy, health and the public sector markets.

“Ten years ago, we were just call centers because we only gave information via the telephone, but this is an industry that is constantly evolving,” says Guy Fort, president of the Peruvian Association of Call Centers (Apecco). “Now we establish contact with our users’ customers to carry out operations using different channels, like chat on the internet or even social networks.”

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April 22, 2010 16:21:21

The process of opening Peru for trade

By Manuel Quindimill
Governmental and Legislative Relations, AmCham Peru

Although the Peruvian Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA) has been only with us for a year, it has already benefited the country.
Trade in Peru and labor rights.
Manuel Quindimill.
Besides the new import clearance procedure, it has also left us with an intangible capital: our country cannot leave aside the need to adapt itself to the international context, in order to remain competitive in the medium and long terms.

Following a static analysis, a new General Customs Law has been accomplished (via DL N° 1053), with an Advance Customs Clearance which will result in lower logistical costs and financial benefits due to the import rights payment deferral. However, this achievement does not mean our country’s trade facilitation agenda is over. Without going into the debate between those who say Peru’s foreign trade is either completely wrong or manna from heaven, it is pertinent to analyze our actual position as well as our short, medium and long term destination.

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April 7, 2010 7:52:20

Sanitary requirements make exporting fruit from Peru a costly process

By Iana Málaga Newton, El Comercio
Adapted from Spanish by Diana Schwalb

Sanitary requirements make exporting fruit from Peru a costly
processSince the signing of free trade agreements with USA, China and the European Union, much enthusiasm has been felt in the agribusiness sector. This is a compelling reason for the producers of mangoes, grapes, avocados and bananas (fruits of Peru that sell the most abroad) to make the impossible to do business abroad and further increase the value of their exports.

However, so much emotion can go overboard if a producer of fresh fruits does not know the phytosanitary requirements that an importer demands anywhere else in the world. As Claudia Solano of Prom-Peru explains, phytosanitary regulations are responsible for the control of pests and biological agents in products of plant origin that can affect crops or people’s health.

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March 15, 2010 15:05:15

Peruvian exports improve the quality of life of Peruvians, says ADEX president

By Marienella Ortiz, El Comercio
Adapted from Spanish by Diana Schwalb

The direction Peru's exports and the effect of the anti-crisis plan on are some of the issues
The current president of the Association of
            Exporters (ADEX), in Peru, Jose Luis Silva
Photo: Dante Piaggio
addressed in this interview with the current president of the Association of Exporters (ADEX), Jose Luis Silva. On April 1 he will step down and leave the position to John Varilias, of the agricultural export company Gandules.

What do you think is the role of exports in the Peruvian economy?
We are the engine of the economy and major generators of jobs. The world’s best working practices were brought to Peru by the export companies in the manufacturing sector as well as in the agricultural, employment and environmental fields.

They were forced to do it by the demands in foreign markets...
I agree 100 percent. It was not because we are nice and they like us. However, there is also a subject of responsibility. Being a globalized business makes you know other realities and have the same thing you see in other countries. Then, these good practices are copied in other sectors of the domestic market. What I mean is that the contribution of the export sector is not just a matter of how many dollars it exports, but the improvement of quality of life of Peruvians.

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February 3, 2010 13:39:49

Exports from Peru in 2010: It's more than fishmeal and silver

By Brennan PottsExports from Peru in 2010: It's more than fishmeal and silver

As world markets recover, countries and people will resume their demand for goods and services that will fuel their economies. Peru will play a vital role as a trade partner to many countries who need Peruvian products for business and life. The Peruvian economy is expected to see real GDP growth of more than five percent in 2010. A large portion of this growth will come from the world’s demand for food, raw materials and energy that Peru can provide with its vast resources. Below is a look at six of Peru's main export areas and trends to look out for 2010.


Peru’s diverse climate and proximity to the equator allows for increased crop productivity and a variety of products to be grown. The coast has a dry subtropical climate with little rainfall whereas the Andes region is marked by seasons including rain during the summers. Peru has more than 5,000,000 hectares (19,300 square miles) of farmland producing agriculture products. 

Peru is currently the world’s number one exporter of asparagus, organic bananas and organic coffee. It is second place in the spice paprika, made from dried bell peppers or chili peppers. Other main exports include artichokes, grapes, mangos and avocados. As of January, in accordance with the bilateral free trade agreement, Haas avocados are allowed for export to the United States, the largest avocado market. This news will benefit local producers, as it is expected exports of the Hass avocado could reach 19,000 tons annually to the United States.

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