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Brazil eyes exports via China-controlled Chancay port, Peruvian minister says

FILE PHOTO: China widens South America trade highway with Silk Road mega port

LIMA (Reuters) - Brazil is interested in exporting soy, corn and other products through Peru's China-controlled Chancay port, Peruvian Economy Minister Jose Arista said on Thursday, according to state news agency Andina.

Brazilian Planning Minister Simone Tebet visited the port, still under construction, earlier this week and spoke with Arista about the possibility of using it as an export route, Andina reported.

It would offer Brazilian exporters the opportunity to send goods by truck to the Peruvian port for shipping to Asia via the Pacific Ocean, cutting the transit time by about two weeks.

Shipping from the port provides an alternative to the Panama Canal, where ships have encountered delays and logjams due to the impact of dry weather conditions on the canal's water levels.

The Peruvian terminal, the first under Beijing's control in South America, will also serve as a crucial gateway for China to the region.

Arista said Tebet plans to speak with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva about the port's potential for Brazil and hopes to arrange a visit by Lula to meet with Peruvian President Dina Boluarte about enabling integration between the two countries through the port.

Brazil's agriculture and planning ministries did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Brazil's planning ministry said on Monday in a statement before Tebet's visit that the Chancay port is part of a program its government has been developing to improve logistics integration with countries from South America.

The port terminal, costing an initial $1.3 billion, is 70% completed, Andina reported. Majority owner Cosco Shipping Ports has said the port is set to open at the end of this year.

The port will open with four docks but could expand to up to 15, Andina said.

Arista on Thursday confirmed the government in Lima is looking to create a special economic zone in the north of the capital to develop Chancay, in addition to creating a customs headquarters at the port.

(Reporting by Marco Aquino; Additional reporting by Andre Romani in Sao Paulo; Editing by Anthony Esposito, Jan Harvey and Jamie Freed)