The agreement marks a new era of relations between the constituent countries of the Pacific Alliance, a trade bloc which serves to increase competitiveness in international commerce. Besides improving competitiveness, the Pacific Alliance was created to offset the Mercosur group, which includes Brazil and Argentina. The alliance has a combined GDP of $1.7 trillion dollars, which is equal to 35 percent of Latin America’s GDP.
“Not only did we reaffirm our willingness to accelerate the process of integration between our countries and announce concrete measures to that end, but we also set out some very precise targets in terms of involving other countries,” said Colombia president Juan Manuel Santos. Japan and Guatemala will be included in the Alliance as observers.
“The remaining 10% will have a timetable in which to achieve the goal of 100% free trade,” Chilean president Sebastian Piñera said.
The Pacific Alliance’s marked progress was augmented by the expansion of the integrated stock exchange, created in May of 2011 and known as the Integrated Latin American Market. The exchange is comprised of the Lima, Santiago, and Bogota stock markets.
The announcement came at the conclusion of the CELAC-EU Summit where heads of state from Latin America and Europe convened to discuss geopolitics and economic issues related to the two regions. In May, Santos will take on the body’s rotating presidency when the group meets in Cali.
“As we have said, we see the Alliance, for its characteristics, as the most important integration process that has happened in Latin America,” said the Colombian head of state.
BACKGROUND: Santos hails creation of Pacific Alliance