The Pacific Alliance trade bloc (uniting Colombia, Mexico, Chile and Peru) announced plans to strengthen ties with Latin America’s other major trading group, Mercosur, reported Colombia’s El Espectador newspaper on Tuesday.
Spurred by Chile’s newly-elected president Michelle Bachelet, Alliance leaders announced that they would meet with representatives from Mercosur, otherwise known as the Southern Common Market, to discuss the possibility of forging a trade partnership later this year, reported US American Society-Council of the Americas thinktank.
The ninth presidential summit of the Alliance took place in Punta Mita, Mexico and yielded a number of new initiatives, according to El Espectador.
Atlantic integration “necessary”
Comprising of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and, most recently, Venezuela, the Atlantic-based Mercosur trading bloc was established in 1991 and saw intra-regional trade rise since its inception, but faced criticisms of protectionism and over-dependence on the economic power of Brazil, according to UK news-magazine, the Economist.
The IMF’s latest figures show that Brazil’s GDP accounted for almost 66% of the member countries’ collective income as of April 2014.
Reported by the Americas Society, President Bachelet called for the “intensification of ties with Latin America and the Caribbean, particularly with South America,” adding that, “beyond legitimate differences, it is perfectly possible to achieve levels of convergence between Alliance countries and Mercosur, between the Atlantic and the Pacific.”
“Not only is it possible, it is also necessary.”
Promoting small businesses
Notable initiatives that arose from the summit included plans to collaborate with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to promote competitiveness and internationalization of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). They also talked about a working holiday program to offer young people from any one of the member states up to year-long visas to work or travel in the others, as reported in a statement released by the Pacific Alliance.
Collectively ranking among the world’s ten biggest economies, the Pacific Alliance furthers its view to expansion in its latest summit by welcoming Belgium and Trinidad and Tobago as the newest observer states.
- DECLARACIÓN DE PUNTA MITA (Alianza del Pacifico)
- Lo que quedó de la Alianza del Pacífico (El Espectador)
- 2014 Santiago Blog: Pacific Alliance Deepens Integration, Announces Mercosur Meeting (Americas Society/Council of the Americas)
- World Economic and Financial Surveys: World Economic Outlook Database (IMF)
- Brazil rocks the Mercosur boat (The Economist)
- Mercosur RIP? (The Economist)