Peruvian president touts success of European tour

2012-11-21 04:01:53 GMT2012-11-21 12:01:53(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

LIMA, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Peruvian President Ollanta Humala Tuesday returned home from his European tour, calling the trip "useful" in which he signed significant cooperation agreements with three European countries and proposed joining the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

In France, the first leg of the trip, Humala met with his French counterpart Francois Hollande in Paris and signed a bilateral agreement to promote trade, education and defense.

Hollande pledged to support Peru's development through the French Development Agency and to improve student exchange programs.

Hollande also praised Humala's meeting with members of French business organizations, where the Peruvian president showcased Peru's robust economy and opportunities for foreign investors.

"We had business meetings where Peru's (economic) growth raised many expectations, and we expressed our interest in becoming a full member of the OECD," Humala said.

France is Peru's fourth largest investor after Spain, Holland and Britain, with a presence of 74 French corporations in the South American nation.

In Paris, Humala also met with Irina Bokova, general director of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote a joint proposal by Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador to declare the ancient road network of the pre-Hispanic Inca civilization a World Heritage Site.

Bokova's response to the proposal, to be discussed in 2013, was encouraging, said Humala, adding that the UNESCO chief praised the significance of the road network as a major infrastructure project.

In Spain, Humala highlighted Peru's economic stability and average annual GDP growth of 6 percent in recent years.

On Nov. 16-17, Humala participated in the 22nd annual Iberoamerican Summit held in the southern Spanish city of Cadiz, where he also spoke of investment opportunities in his country.

On the sidelines of the summit, Humala met with his counterparts of Mexico, Chile and Colombia to discuss the elimination of visas for citizens of the Pacific Alliance member countries.

"The idea is to strengthen the economic and trade bloc to consolidate us in the Asia-Pacific forum," said Humala.

Humala concluded his Nov. 14-19 European tour in Lisbon, where he met with Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco and signed a bilateral fiscal agreement to facilitate business exchange by preventing double taxation and tax evasion.

Both nations also signed a memorandum of understanding to promote technical cooperation and to implement joint programs in various fields.

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