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Feeling Fujimori.

WITH A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION COMING NEXT APRIL, the specter of political uncertainty is circling over Peru. Since 1990, President Alberto Fujimori has led with a firm grip and brought order (if not law) to the country, successfully dismantling guerrilla insurgencies and taming runaway inflation. But the constitution is not clear on whether he can seek another term, begging the question as to what might await the country when voters go to the polls.

Mindful that investors do not like surprises, the Peruvian government is out to reassure them that the country's economic future is as bright as ever. The government's promotion agency, PromPeru, enlisted the help of three private and public agencies, along with U.S. investment bank J.P. Morgan, for a barnstorming road show.

Unlike much of Latin America, Peru's got plenty to boast about. The Andean country's GDP is expected this year to grow 2.5%, the second-highest rate in the region after Mexico.

That was part of the message the Peruvian entourage recently took to Mexico City, the first stop on the global tour. Officials picked Mexico because they believe its huge northern neighbor could benefit from Peru's agricultural products. Indeed, the Peruvian growing season and diverse climates would allow Mexican firms to buy fresh fruits and vegetables during the northern winter. Peruvian products not available in Mexico could complement exports headed to the U.S. market.

Beatriz Boza, president of PromPeru, bragged about the country's geographic location, noting that her nation was in the middle of South America's Pacific coast, a perfect launching pad for doing business in the nearby Mercosur market or as headquarters for trade with Asia.

The Mexican dress rehearsal put a good face on Peru, but the make-or-break performances lie ahead in Chicago, London, Tokyo and, of course, New York City. What's at stake is attracting capital for upcoming privatizations and luring investment that would cushion the country in case of an uncertain political transition.
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Title Annotation:Pres. Alberto Fujimori
Author:Conger, Lucy
Publication:Latin Trade
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:3PERU
Date:Oct 1, 1999
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