The Peruvian government has increased its trade promotion activities since the start of this year, including the launch of an SME internationalisation programme and the lifting of US beef import restrictions.

The ministry of trade and tourism (Mincetur) has launched a grant programme to support the internationalisation of the country’s small businesses.

Around US$7.5mn of the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) fund will be utilised for the first stage of creation of the programme, which is part of Peru’s strategic national exports plan 2025 (PENX 2025), and is expected to benefit 180 exporting SMEs in the next four years.

“The creation of the Peruvian MSME internationalisation support programme is an important effort, embedded in the implementation of PENX 2025, as a key element to increase Peruvian exports, grow the number of Peruvian companies with a commercial presence in target markets and better exploit the vast network of commercial agreements Peru has,” says trade and tourism minister Magali Silva.

She points out that PENX 2025 also involved the implementation of a programme to develop and promote financial instruments and competitive funding for international trade projects, which the recently-announced initiative fits within.

Grants will be given around to support four areas of internationalisation: increase of exports, international tenders and strategic alliances, franchises and opening of international branches.

The country increased its export promotion efforts by 10% in the first two months of 2016, with 13 events attended by 500 business owners, who together generated transactions worth US$270mn.

On the import side, Peru made the landmark decision to remove US beef import restrictions that had been in place since the country’s cattle was affected by an epidemic of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as “mad cow disease”, in 2003.

In 2015, the US exported US$25.4mn in beef and beef products to Peru, but trade was still hampered due to the certification requirements implemented by Peru in 2003.

“Peru has been a growing market for American beef and this agreement will only further expand opportunities for American producers and exporters,” says US trade representative Michael Froman.

Peru was the US’ 32nd-largest export market and 40th-largest import market in 2013, but trade between the two countries has been growing steadily, with particular growth in agricultural exports from Peru to the US in 2015.