The presidents of Peru, Mexico, Chile and Colombia signed the Pacific Alliance agreement to integrate the four countries in a bid to boost economic power and trade links within the Pacific region, reported Semana.
The leaders met in Lima, Peru on Thursday to discuss the basis of the strategic alliance which has the potential to become the largest trading bloc in Latin America.
The so-called “Lima Declaration”, aims to establish an “alliance of deep integration” to “encourage regional integration and greater growth, development and competitiveness of [the involved] economies.” Panamanian Minister Romulo Roux sat in on the meeting, signalling the possibility of Panama also singing the declaration in the near future.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said the alliance is not closed but open to other nations for inclusion, stating, “we welcome other countries that wish to join this interesting process that we are formally launching today”.
Peruvian President Alan Garcia stressed that Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru are notable for their economic and social development, and have achieved in recent years important achievements in poverty reduction.
“Our four countries, and Panama in the near future, represent 200 million people. Our countries represent 55% of Latin American exports, This is not a romantic alliance, it is a realistic integration with the world and to the world,” said Garcia at the meeting.
“Today we are giving a clear signal that the four countries, Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile, and in the future Panama, will not miss this opportunity to fully integrate our countries into this modern society that is emerging and transform our countries not only into democratic and free countries, but also developed and fair ones,” Chilean President Sebastian Piñera said.
President Felipe Calderon of Mexico estimated that joint trade between the four countries could be worth up to $9 billion as a result of the agreement, $3 billion higher than trade between the nations in 2010 according to Peru’s tax agency, Sunat.
In comparison, the new bloc’s nearest competitor in terms of trade value is Mercosur, which has as its permanent members Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay and registered trading of $5.43 billion last year.