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Peru Reports Strong Economic Growth

Peru's economy expanded 9.8 percent in 2008 as strong commodity prices helped it grow at the fastest rate in 14 years.

News reports say growth slowed a bit at the end of 2008 and the beginning of this year.

A report from Bloomberg also says Peru's government is reporting a one percentage point increase in unemployment, putting the rate at 8.8 percent.

Peruvian officials apparently hope to boost trade to help economic growth. Japan's Kyoto news service reports that Peru's foreign and trade ministers plan a visit to Japan for talks on bilateral trade and other issues February 23.

Japan is seeking lower duties on cars it sells to Peru while Peru wants better access to Japan's farm and fisheries markets.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.