PPK: The First Latin American Leader to Meet with Trump On Friday February 24, 2017, President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (PPK) met with the President of the United States, Donald Trump, in the White House to discuss matters of great importance to the bilateral agenda of both countries. The meeting lasted approximately 15 minutes, and afterwards both presidents responded to questions from the press.
Of the meeting in general, PPK described his encounter with the U.S. president as “cordial” and “constructive,” while President Trump characterized Peru as “a fantastic neighbor” and said that it was an honor to host President Kuczynski in the White House.
During the meeting, the two world leaders discussed the immigration of Peruvian citizens to the United States. PPK stressed that many of the current migrants living within U.S. borders date back to the 1980’s when Peru was facing issues of terrorism and hyperinflation, and he is confident that President Trump understands this. In addition, PPK noted that of the 1 million Peruvians living in the U.S., only a very small portion are in jail, thus demonstrating that Peru is not exporting criminals to the U.S.
PPK declined to comment with respect to President Trump’s proposed border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. However, at press time, PPK stated that he made a clear position to President Trump with respect to migration issues, having said that he is uninterested in creating barriers between nations and that he prefers to build bridges rather than construct walls.
With respect to the humanitarian situation in Venezuela, a common concern for Peru and the U.S., PPK stated that Peru supports democracy and will do everything it can to ensure the continuation of democracy for the well-being of all American countries.
Bilateral trade between the U.S. and Peru was briefly discussed, and President Trump confirmed his attendance at the 2018 Summit of the Americas that will be hosted in Peru. This conference will provide an opportunity to explore additional trade agreements between the two nations. In addition, the two presidents touched on the topic of the former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, a fugitive who is wanted in relation to the Odebrecht bribery case and thought to be in the U.S. However, as that is a judicial matter, it was not discussed at much length.
PPK’s meeting with the U.S. president is significant since this is the first meeting between President Trump and a Latin American leader since the latter assumed office in January. Moreover, it is believed that PPK is ideally situated to appeal to President Trump on behalf of Latin America, as he is a credible source who can testify to the progress in the region and demonstrate that Peru is an ideal partner with respect to trade, security, and energy.
In addition, it is believed that the Peruvian leader’s history and Wall Street roots are likely to appeal to President Trump. PPK is a graduate of Princeton and Oxford, and during his distinguished career he has co-chaired a major Wall Street investment bank, held positions at the World Bank, and founded a major Latin American private equity firm. Based on his past, it is clear that PPK understands and values growth, something that he and the U.S. President have in common. If anyone can convince President Trump to see Latin America is a region of opportunity and not just a source of problems, it’s sure to be PPK.