The government of Peru (GOP)’s sound fiscal management and support of macroeconomic fundamentals contributed to the country’s region-leading economic growth since 2002. However, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a severe economic contraction of over 11 percent in 2020. In response, the GOP implemented a $39.5 billion stimulus plan in July 2020, which amounted to 19 percent of GDP. To finance the increased spending, the annual deficit grew to 8.9 percent of GDP in 2020, but the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) projects that it will stabilize to 4.8 percent of GDP in 2021. GOP’s debt as a percentage of GDP increased from 26.8 percent in 2019 to 35 percent in 2020. Peru’s COVID-19 response and the perseverance of its macroeconomic stability led the IMF to project that Peru will grow its GDP by 8.5 percent in 2021, the highest growth forecast in the region. Net international reserves remained strong at $73.9 billion and inflation averaged 1.8 percent in 2020. Private sector investment comprised more than two-thirds of Peru’s total investment in 2020.
Peru fosters an open investment environment, which includes strong protections for contractual rights and property. Peru is well integrated in the global economy including with the United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA), which entered into force in 2009. Through its investment promotion agency ProInversion, Peru seeks foreign investment in its infrastructure sector and free trade zones. Prospective investors would benefit from seeking local legal counsel in navigating Peru’s complex bureaucracy.
Corruption, social conflict, and congressional populist measures negatively affects Peru’s investment climate. Transparency International ranked Peru 94th out of 180 countries in its 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index. In 2020, Peru’s health minister and foreign minister resigned after admitting they irregularly received Sinopharm trial vaccines, along with former president Vizcarra. Social conflicts also adversely affect the investment climate. According to the Ombudsman, there were 145 active social conflicts in Peru as of January 2021 of which 66 were in the mining sector. Citing, in part, a recent congressional passage of populist measures, and the possibility of future executive-legislative tension, Fitch Ratings revised the rating outlook on Peru’s Long-Term Foreign- and Local-Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) to negative from stable in December of 2020.
|TI Corruption Perceptions Index||2020||94 of 180||http://www.transparency.org/research/cpi/overview|
|World Bank’s Doing Business Report||2020||76 of 190||https://www.doingbusiness.org/en/doingbusiness|
|Global Innovation Index||2020||76 of 131||https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/analysis-indicator|
|U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, historical stock positions)||2019||$7,470||https://www.bea.gov/international/di1usdbal|
|World Bank GNI per capita||2019||$6,740||http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GNP.PCAP.CD|
1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment
Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment
Peru seeks to attract investment – both foreign and domestic – in nearly all sectors.. Peru reported $2 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 2020 and seeks increased investment for 2021. It has prioritized $6 billion in public-private partnership projects in transportation infrastructure, electricity, education, broadband expansion, gas distribution, health, and sanitation.
Peru’s Constitution of 1993grants national treatment for foreign investors and permits foreign investment in almost all economic sectors. Under the Peruvian Constitution, foreign investors have the same rights as national investors to benefit from investment incentives, such as tax exemptions. In addition to the Constitution of 1993, Peru has several laws governing FDI including the Foreign Investment Promotion Law (Legislative Decree (DL) 662 of September 1991) and the Framework Law for Private Investment Growth (DL 757 of November 1991). Other important laws include the Private Investment in State-Owned Enterprises Promotion Law (DL 674) and the Private Investment in Public Services Infrastructure Promotion Law (DL 758). Article 6 of Supreme Decree No. 162-92-EF (the implementing regulations of DLs 662 and 757) authorized private investment in all industries except within natural protected areas and weapons manufacturing.
Peru and the United States benefit from the United States-Peru Free Trade Agreement (PTPA), which entered into force on February 1, 2009. The PTPA established a secure, predictable legal framework for U.S. investors in Peru. The PTPA protects all forms of investment. U.S. investors enjoy the right to establish, acquire, and operate investments in Peru on an equal footing with local investors in almost all circumstances. https://ustr.gov/trade-agreements/free-trade-agreements/peru-tpa
The GOP created the investment promotion agency ProInversion in 2002 to manage privatizations and concessions of state-owned enterprises and natural resource-based industries. The agency currently manages private concession processes in the energy, education, transportation, health, sanitation, and telecommunication sectors, and organizes international roadshow events to attract investors. Major recent and upcoming concessions include ports, water treatment plants, power generation facilities, mining projects, electrical transmission lines, oil and gas distribution, and telecommunications. Project opportunities are available on ProInversion’s website: https://www.proyectosapp.pe/default.aspx?ARE=1&PFL=0&sec=30. Companies are required to register all foreign investments with ProInversion.
The National Competitiveness Plan 2019 – 2030 outlines Peru’s economic growth strategy for the next decade and seeks to close the country’s $110 billion infrastructure gap. The plan was supplemented by a National Infrastructure Plan in July 2019, which identified 52 infrastructure projects keyed to critical sectors. Priority projects include two Lima metro lines, an expansion of Jorge Chavez International Airport, and multiple energy projects including electricity transmission lines. Peru reported in February 2021 that the energy projects had advanced significantly while many transport and agricultural projects suffered significant delays. Of note, the Ministry of Transportation prioritized the Fourth Metro Line and Central Highway, each multi-billion dollar projects, which were not included in the National Infrastructure Plan. Peru maintains an investment research portal to promote these infrastructure investment opportunities: https://www.mef.gob.pe/es/aplicativos-invierte-pe?id=5455
Although Peruvian administrations since the 1990s have supported private investments, Peru occasionally passes measures that some observers regard as a contravention of its open, free market orientation. In December 2011, Peru signed into law a 10-year moratorium on the entry of live genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for cultivation. In December 2020, the moratorium was extended an additional 15 years and will now remain enforced until 2035. Peru also implemented two sets of rules for importing pesticides, one for commercial importers, which requires importers to file a full dossier with technical information, and another for end-user farmers, which only requires a written affidavit.
Peru reformed its agricultural labor laws in 2020 impacting labor costs and tax incentives that could adversely affect investors in Peru’s agricultural sector. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated U.S. direct investment in the agriculture sector to reach $1.3 billion in 2021.
Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment
Peru’s Constitution (Article 6 under Supreme Decree No. 162-92-EF) authorizes foreign investors to carry out economic activity provided that investors comply with all constitutional precepts, laws, and treaties. Exceptions exist, including exclusion of foreign investment activities in natural protected reserves and military weapons manufacturing. Peruvian law requires majority Peruvian ownership in media; air, land and maritime transportation infrastructure; and private security surveillance services. Foreign interests cannot “acquire or possess under any title, mines, lands, forests, waters, or fuel or energy sources” within 50 kilometers of Peru’s international borders. However, foreigners can obtain concessions in these areas and in certain cases the GOP may grant a waiver. The GOP does not screen, review, or approve foreign direct investment outside of those sectors that require a governmental waiver.
Other Investment Policy Reviews
The World Trade Organization (WTO) published a Trade Policy Review (HYPERLINK “https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/tpr_e/tp493_e.htm” https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/tpr_e/tp493_e.htm) on Peru in October 2019. The WTO commented that foreign investors received the same legal treatment as local investors in general, although Peru restricted foreign investment on property at the country’s borders, and in air transport and broadcasting. The report highlighted the government’s ongoing efforts to promote public-private partnerships (PPPs) and strengthen the PPP legal framework with Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) principles. The report noted that Peru maintained a regime open to domestic and foreign investment that fostered competition and equal treatment.
Peru aspires to become a member of the OECD and launched an OECD Country Program in 2014, comprising policy reviews and capacity building projects. The OECD published the Initial Assessment of its Multi-Dimensional Review in 2015 (https://www.oecd.org/countries/peru/multi-dimensional-review-of-peru-9789264243279-en.htm), finding that, in spite of economic growth, Peru “still faces structural challenges to escape the middle-income trap and consolidate its emerging middle class.” In every year since this study was published, Peru has enacted and implemented dozens of reforms to modernize its governance practices in line with OECD recommendations. Recent OECD studies on Peru include: Investing in Youth (April 2019), Digital Government (June 2019), Pension Systems (September 2019), Transport Regulation (February 2020), and Tax Transparency (April 2020). Peru has adhered to 45 of OECD’s 248 existing legal instruments, but its accession roadmap remains unclear.
Peru has not had a third-party investment policy review through the OECD or UNCTAD in the past three years.
The GOP does not have a regulatory system to facilitate business operations but the Institute for the Protection of Intellectual Property, Consumer Protection, and Competition (INDECOPI) reviews the enactment of new regulations by government entities that can place burdens on business operations. INDECOPI has the authority to block any new business regulation. INDECOPI also has a : https://www.indecopi.gob.pe/web/eliminacion-de-barreras-burocraticas/presentacion.
Peru allows foreign business ownership, provided that a company has at least two shareholders and that its legal representative is a Peruvian resident. Businesses must reserve a company name through the national registry, SUNARP, and prepare a deed of incorporation through a Citizen and Business Services Portal (https://www.serviciosalciudadano.gob.pe/). After a deed is signed, businesses must file with a public notary, pay notary fees of up to one percent of a company’s capital, and submit the deed to the Public Registry. The company’s legal representative must obtain a certificate of registration and tax identification number from the national tax authority SUNAT (www.sunat.gob.pe). Finally, the company must obtain a license from the municipality of the jurisdiction in which it is located. Depending on the core business, companies might need to obtain further government approvals such as: sanitary, environmental, or educational authorizations.
The GOP promotes outward investment by Peruvian entities through the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (MINCETUR). Trade Commission Offices of Peru (OCEX), under the supervision of Peru’s export promotion agency (PromPeru), are located in numerous countries, including the United States, and promote the export of Peruvian goods and services and inward foreign investment. The GOP does not restrict domestic investors from investing abroad.
6. Financial Sector
Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment
Peru allows foreign portfolio investment and does not place restrictions on international transactions. The private sector has access to a variety of credit instruments. Peruvian mutual funds managed $12.7 billion in December 2020. Private pension funds managed a total of $47.2 billion in December 2020.
The Lima Stock Exchange (BVL) is a member of the Integrated Latin American Market, which includes stock markets from Pacific Alliance countries (Peru, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico). As of July 2018, mutual funds registered in Pacific Alliance countries may trade in the Lima Stock Exchange.
The Securities Market Superintendent (SMV) regulates the securities and commodities markets. SMV’s mandate includes controlling securities market participants, maintaining a transparent and orderly market, setting accounting standards, and publishing financial information about listed companies. SMV requires stock issuers to report events that may affect the stock, the company, or any public offerings. Trading on insider information is a crime, with some reported prosecutions in past years. SMV must vet all firms listed on the Lima Stock Exchange or the Public Registry of Securities. SMV also maintains the Public Registry of Securities and Stock Brokers.
London Stock Exchange Group FTSE Russell downgraded Peru from Secondary Emerging Market to Frontier status in March 2020. In a statement, the BVL stated that the decision is not necessarily replicable among the other index providers adding that Morgan Stanley Capital International, which is considered a main benchmark for emerging markets, is not expected to reconsider the BVL’s status.
Money and Banking System
Peru’s banking sector is highly consolidated. Sixteen commercial banks account for 90 percent of the financial system’s total assets, valued at $164 billion in December of 2020. In 2020, three banks accounted for 72 percent of loans and 70 percent of deposits among commercial banks. Peru has a relatively low level of access to financial services at 50 percent, particularly outside Lima and major urban areas.
The Central Bank of Peru (BCRP) is an independent institution, free to manage monetary policy to maintain financial stability. The BCRP’s primary goal is to maintain price stability via inflation targeting between one to three percent. Year-end inflation reached 1.8 percent in 2020.
The banking system is considered generally sound, thanks to the GOP’s lessons learned during the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis. Non-performing bank loans accounted for 3.8 percent of gross loans as of December 2020, an increase from the three percent registered in 2019. The rapid implementation of the $39.5 billion BCRP loan guarantee program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic attenuated loan default risk, but banks are still expected to feel an impact on credit operations within sensitive sectors such as tourism, services, and retail.
Under the PTPA, U.S. financial service suppliers have full rights to establish subsidiaries or branches for banks and insurance companies. Peruvian law and regulations do not authorize or encourage private firms to adopt articles of incorporation or association to limit or restrict foreign participation. However, larger private firms often use “cross-shareholding” and “stable shareholder” arrangements to restrict investment by outsiders – not necessarily foreigners – in their firms. As close families or associates often control ownership of Peruvian corporations, hostile takeovers are practically non-existent. In the past few years, several companies from the region, China, North America, and Europe have begun actively buying local companies in power transmission, retail trade, fishmeal production, and other industries. While foreign banks are allowed to freely establish banks in the country, they are subject to the supervision of Peru’s Superintendent of Banks and Securities (SBS).
Foreign Exchange and Remittances
There were no reported difficulties in obtaining foreign exchange. Under Article 64 of the Constitution, the GOP guarantees the freedom to hold and dispose of foreign currency. Exporters and importers are not required to channel foreign exchange transactions through the Central Bank and can conduct transactions freely on the open market. Anyone may open and maintain foreign currency accounts in Peruvian commercial banks. Under the PTPA, portfolio managers in the United States are able to provide portfolio management services to both mutual funds and pension funds in Peru, including funds that manage Peru’s privatized social security accounts.
The Constitution guarantees free convertibility of currency. However, limited capital controls still exist as private pension fund managers (AFPs) are constrained by how much of their portfolio can be invested in foreign securities. The maximum limit is set by law (currently 50 percent since July 2011), but the BCRP sets the operating limit AFPs can invest abroad. Over the years, the BCRP has gradually increased the operating limit. Peru reached the 50 percent limit in September 2018.
The foreign exchange market mostly operates freely. Funds associated with any form of investment can be freely converted into any world currency. To quell “extreme variations” of the exchange rate, the BCRP intervenes through purchases and sales in the open market without imposing controls on exchange rates or transactions. Since 2014,BCRP has pursued de-dollarization to reduce dollar denominated loans in the market and purchased U.S. dollars to mitigate the risk that spillover from expansionary U.S. monetary policy might result in over-valuation of the Peruvian Sol relative to the U.S. dollar. In December 2020, dollar-denominated loans reached 22 percent, and deposits 32 percent.
The U.S. Dollar averaged PEN 3.49 per $1 in 2020.
Article 7 of the Legislative Decree 662 issued in 1991 provided that foreign investors may send, in freely convertible currencies, remittances of the entirety of their capital derived from investments, including the sale of shares, stocks or rights, capital reduction or partial or total liquidation of companies, the entirety of their dividends or proven net profit derived from their investments, and any considerations for the use or enjoyment of assets that are physically located in Peru, as registered with the competent national entity, without a prior authorization from any national government department or decentralized public entities, or regional or municipal Governments, after having paid all the applicable taxes.
Sovereign Wealth Funds
Peru’s Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) manages the Fiscal Stabilization Fund which serves as a buffer for the GOP’s fiscal accounts in the event of adverse economic conditions. It consists of treasury surplus, concessional fees, and privatization proceeds, and is capped at four percent of GDP. The fund was nearly completely exhausted to finance increased spending in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, dropping from $5.5 billion at the end of 2019 to $1 million at the end of 2020. The Fund is not a party to the IMF International Working Group or a signatory to the Santiago Principles.
Generally, corruption in Peru is widespread and systematic, affecting all levels of government and the whole of society, which, until recently, had developed a high tolerance to corruption. Embezzlement, collusion, bribery, extortion or fraud in the justice system, politics and public works, by high level authorities or key public officers is common. In public procurement, weak control and risk management systems, lack of ethical or integrity values among some public officials, lack of transparency and accountability in procurement processes, social tolerance of corruption, and minimal or no enforcement contribute to the problem. This embedded dynamic has eroded trust, credibility and integrity of public entities and engendered mistrust in the private sector.
Between 2019 and 2020, Peru improved three points and climbed 11 positions (to 94 among 189 countries) in Transparency International’s 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index. This progress reflected GOP investigations and reforms over the past two years. The reforms included eliminating parliamentary immunity and creating a new judicial oversight body, but also the prohibition of convicted criminals from running for elected office and campaign finance reform.
It is illegal in Peru for a public official or an employee to accept any type of outside remuneration for the performance of his or her official duties. The law extends to family members of officials and to political parties. In 2019, Peru made the irregular financing of political campaigns a crime, carrying penalties up to eight years jail time. Peru has ratified both the UN Convention against Corruption and the Organization of American States Inter-American Convention against Corruption. Peru has signed the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions and has adopted OECD public sector integrity standards through the GOP’s National Integrity and Anticorruption Plan.
The Public Auditor (Contraloria) oversees public administration. In January 2017, the GOP passed legislative decrees extending the scope of civil penalties for domestic acts of bribery, including by NGOs, corporate partners, board members, and parent companies if its subsidiaries acted under authorization. Penalties include an indefinite exclusion from government contracting and substantially increased fines. The Public Auditor also began auditing reconstruction projects in parallel to the project, rather than after project implementation, in an effort to improve transparency. It is also running parallel audits to the different government actions at all levels (central, regional, and local) to combat the COVID-19 crisis. In one of the largest transnational bribery scandals in Latin America, the Peruvian company admitted in a 2016 settlement with the United States, Brazil, and Switzerland that it had paid $29 million in bribery between 2004 and 2015. High-ranking officials from the last four Peruvian administrations have also been investigated in connection with the scandal, including former presidents. U.S. firms have reported problems resulting from corruption, usually in government procurement processes and in the judicial sector, with defense and police procurement generally considered among the most problematic.
In one of the largest transnational bribery scandals in Latin America, the Peruvian company admitted in a 2016 settlement with the United States, Brazil, and Switzerland that it had paid $29 million in bribery between 2004 and 2015. High-ranking officials from the last four Peruvian administrations have also been investigated in connection with the scandal, including former presidents. U.S. firms have reported problems resulting from corruption, usually in government procurement processes and in the judicial sector, with defense and police procurement generally considered among the most problematic.
Resources to Report Corruption
Secretary of Public Integrity of the Prime Minister Office and General Coordinator
Eloy Munive Pariona
Jr. Carabaya Cdra. 1 S/N – Lima,
(51) (1) 219-7000, ext. 1137
General Comptroller’s Office
Jr. Camilo Carrillo 114, Jesus Maria, Lima
(51) (1) 330-3000
10. Political and Security Environment
According to the Ombudsman, there were 145 active social conflicts in Peru as of January 2021. Although political violence against investors is rare, protests are common. In many cases, protestors sought public services not provided by the government. Widespread protests in late 2020 across several agricultural producing regions resulted in the repeal and rewriting of the nation’s major agricultural law. Protests related to extractives activities stopped operations of Peru’s northern oil pipeline for nearly two months in 2018 and effectively closed Peru’s second largest copper mine, Las Bambas for a month in early 2019. In October 2019, protests erupted in the mining province of Arequipa over Peru’s approval of a construction license for a Mexican copper company, which indefinitely halted its $1.4 billion plan for a copper mine project.
Violence remains a concern in coca-growing regions. The Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso, “SL”) narco-terrorist organization continued to conduct a limited number of attacks in its base of operations in the Valley of the Apurimac, Ene, and Mantaro Rivers (VRAEM) emergency zone, which includes parts of Ayacucho, Cusco, Huancavelica, Huanuco, and Junin regions. Estimates vary, but most experts and Peruvian security services assess SL membership numbers between 250 and 300, including 60 to 150 armed fighters. SL collects “revolutionary taxes” from those involved in the drug trade and, for a price, provides security and transportation services for drug trafficking organizations to support its terrorist activities.
At present, there is little government presence in the remote coca-growing zones of the VRAEM. The U.S. Embassy in Lima restricts visits by official personnel to these areas because of the threat of violence by narcotics traffickers and columns of the Shining Path. Information about insecure areas and recommended personal security practices can be found at or .