"We need that new production because there are a lot of resources in Latin America, and we need more markets," Lee said. "We're just at a beginning stage with this."
To be seen is whether the rising Asian investment will quiet concerns around Latin America that exporting commodities while importing manufactured Asian goods will ruin domestic companies and leave the region vulnerable. Brazil, in particular, has raised import tariffs on manufactured goods to protect its own industries.
Peruvian Trade and Tourism Minister Jose Luis Silva Martinot made clear Wednesday that despite the economic benefits from Asian trade and investment, Peru still sees China and other Asian countries as competitors.
"We can see they're up scaling the quality of their products," Silva said. "Three-quarters of our exports are raw materials. It's something we want to change."
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