Australia plans to start negotiating a free trade deal with Peru as part of a new Australian push to open Latin American markets for beef, wheat and wine exports.
Trade Minister Steven Ciobo and his Peruvian counterpart, Eduardo Ferreyros, planned to begin negotiations Wednesday, the Australian minister said.
He said Australian exporters are at a competitive disadvantage in Peru because exports from the United States, Canada and the European Union enjoy duty-free access under various trade deals.
"Australians traditionally look north to Asia when expanding offshore, but there are also massive opportunities to our east in Latin America," Ciobo said in a statement.
Australia has a free trade deal with Chile that began in 2009.
Australia has agreed to join Chile, Peru and Mexico in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but that trade grouping has been jeopardized by President Donald Trump's decision to pull the United States out.
Australia last week started negotiating a free trade deal with Hong Kong. That would complement Australia's pact with mainland China, which took effect in 2015.
Australia also has free trade deals with the United States, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, the ASEAN group of Southeast Asian nations, and New Zealand.
The Associated Press. | Rod McGuirk