Interview with Managing Partner of Dentons‘ Lima office (Peru), Manuel Barrios
Managing Partner of Dentons‘ Lima office (Peru), Manuel Barrios, shares with us, why Peru remains attractive over time for international business; how to profit from investor residence program and passport program, while investing and doing business in Peru.
- Local businesses and investors – what is the current sentiment?
Peru is known for having a favorable business climate thanks to several contributing factors. For instance, Peru actively encourages foreign investment and has implemented policies to streamline bureaucratic procedures, offer tax incentives, and create special economic zones. Additionally, we have maintained stable macroeconomic conditions over the past few decades, including low inflation rates, manageable public debt, and a stable currency. Finally, our free trade agreements with various countries, such as the United States, China, and the European Union, have facilitated trade and investment.
- Currency Peruvian Sol – why it kept the relatively stable during the turbulent time?
The Peruvian Sol is one of the few currencies of emerging countries that has remained relatively stable during high inflation rates worldwide. This stability can be attributed to the Central Reserve Bank of Peru’s (BCRP) prudent monetary policy, which has promoted exchange rate stability and kept inflation rates low. The BCRP has also built up significant foreign reserves that can be used to stabilize the currency during times of market volatility. Furthermore, Peru has a diversified economy, with significant exports in mining, agriculture, and manufacturing, as well as a strong fiscal position with a low level of public debt and a commitment to fiscal discipline. These factors can help insulate the country from external shocks and promote currency stability.
- When do you see your clients‘ deals & projects now, is this more – they sell the businesses or they buy into the market? So the escape or the see it as opportunity?
Over the past few years, Peru has experienced an uptick in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity, with both domestic and foreign investors seeking to acquire businesses in sectors such as mining, energy, finance, and consumer goods. This trend is driven by factors such as economic growth, political stability, and a favorable business climate. The balance between buying and selling in this market can vary depending on the specific industry and economic conditions. During periods of economic uncertainty or downturns, there may be more businesses selling as companies look to divest non-core assets or consolidate their operations. Conversely, during periods of economic growth and expansion, there may be more businesses buying as companies seek to expand their operations, diversify their product offerings, or enter new markets. Despite current political instability causing a slowdown in the economy, investors with knowledge of the Latin American market, particularly the Peruvian one, recognize this slowdown as temporary and believe the potential growth of the market remains intact.
- Do you see think (your personal reference currency is) in Sol or in USD, when you earn or when you bear costs, and why?
The official currency of Peru is the Sol (PEN), and while many investments in the country are denominated in this currency, US dollars are also commonly used in investment transactions, especially for larger investments and those involving foreign investors. Some investors and businesses may choose to use US dollars to mitigate currency risk or take advantage of more stable or favorable exchange rates. For instance, when discussing real estate transactions related to industrial parks, warehouses, premium offices, malls, and high-level residential properties, it is more common to discuss those investments in US dollars.
My personal currency reference is US$.
- We have been working together on an investment residence/passport Program project in Peru. There are several other countries in Latin America, such as Argentina or Uruguay, which offer some alternative programs. What benefits, on your opinion, Peru has over other Lata in American countries in the region and why?
Peru is a great alternative for investors because of its relatively low investment threshold to obtain residence as an investor, requiring a foreigner to invest just over US$ 130,000.00 (S/ 500,000.00). This amount is very competitive compared to other countries in the region, such as Chile, where an investment of US$ 500,000.00 is required, making it more costly for investors. Additionally, after two consecutive years of permanent residence in the country as an investor, a foreigner can apply for Peruvian nationality, following the legal procedure approved for this, which will allow them to obtain the corresponding Peruvian passport. This process is also more streamlined than other countries in the region, with Uruguay requiring three to five years and Chile requiring five years for citizenship.
- Which countries/nationalities you see now applying for a passport/residential investment visa.
According to official information from the National Statistics and Informatics Institute, the majority of foreigners seeking Peruvian nationality until 2020 were from the United States and Venezuela, with some coming from neighboring countries such as Argentina, Colombia, and Chile.
In addition to the USA and Venezuela, other countries whose citizens have been granted Peruvian nationality in recent years include Spain, Cuba, and Colombia. It’s worth noting that the process for obtaining Peruvian nationality can be complex and time-consuming, so those interested in pursuing it should do their research and seek the assistance of a qualified immigration lawyer.
- What economical sector and which geographical parts in Peru is the most favorable for foreign businessmen & investors to do business in Peru (for instance, real estate, Gold, agriculture etc.)?
Peru presents a range of investment opportunities for foreign businessmen and investors across different sectors and geographical regions. However, the potential of specific sectors and regions may vary depending on factors such as market demand, regulatory environment, infrastructure, and cultural nuances. Some of the sectors that offer particularly attractive prospects for investment include:
- Mining: Peru is a major producer of minerals like copper, gold, silver, and zinc, and the mining sector significantly contributes to the country’s economy. The Peruvian government has established a regulatory framework to promote transparency and stability in the sector.
- Agribusiness: With a range of microclimates and crops such as potatoes, avocados, asparagus, blueberries, coffee, and more, Peru presents favorable growing conditions and export potential for foreign investors.
- Infrastructure: Foreign investors can take part in public-private partnerships (PPPs) to develop infrastructure projects such as highways, airports, and power plants.
- Tourism: Peru has a rich cultural heritage and diverse natural beauty, including Machu Picchu, the Nazca Lines, and the Amazon rainforest. The tourism sector is expanding and provides investment opportunities in areas such as hotels, transportation, and adventure tourism.
While mining and agribusiness are two of the most prominent sectors for foreign investment in Peru, there are also opportunities in areas such as renewable energy, technology, and education. The Peruvian government has recently implemented policies to promote investment in these areas, including tax incentives and streamlined regulatory processes.
In terms of regions, some of the most promising areas for foreign investment in Peru include:
- Lima: As the capital and largest city in Peru, Lima offers a large and diverse market for investors. It is home to many of the country’s major businesses and has a well-developed infrastructure.
- Arequipa: Located in southern Peru, Arequipa is renowned for its rich history, natural beauty, and growing economy. It has a well-educated workforce and is home to a number of significant mining projects.
- Cusco: Cusco is the gateway to Machu Picchu and the major center for tourism in Peru. It has a well-developed hospitality sector and is an important hub for transportation and logistics.
Other areas that may be of interest to foreign investors include Trujillo, which is located on the northern coast and has a thriving commercial and industrial sector, and Ica, which is known for its wine and pisco production and has a growing tourism industry.
- What is the best rule to apply in Peru for business people to stay secured from risks, economical, counterpart or industry-liked
Before entering into any business transaction or partnership, it’s crucial to conduct a thorough due diligence of your potential counterparties, including their financial stability, business reputation, and legal compliance. This approach can help you identify any potential risks and make more informed decisions. As a business person, you need to be aware of all stakeholders involved in the business and any possible effects they may bring to the project.
Overall, the best approach for business people to stay secure from risks in Peru is to be diligent, informed, and proactive in managing risk. By adhering to these guidelines and working with trusted partners such as Dentons, you can safeguard your business and ensure long-term success.
- As a lawyer and advocate, which advice would you give to a business partner (investor, businessman), when he wants to do projects in Peru and be successful and safe in the process?
Establishing robust relationships with local partners, including lawyers, accountants, and other advisors, can assist you in navigating the business environment in Peru and mitigating risks. Local partners can provide valuable insights into the local market and cultural norms, enabling you to identify potential risks and opportunities.