Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos emphasized on Sunday the wealth of opportunities that will be brought about by the eighth summit of the Pacific Alliance – the trade bloc composed of South American nations Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Peru – which will mean “more employment for the regular citizen, [and] more economic growth.”
The day before Colombia’s historical coastal city of Cartagena welcomes the eighth Pacific Alliance summit, the Colombian head of state clarified that he and President Enrique Neña Nieto of Mexico, Sebastian Piñera of Chile and Ollanta Humala of Peru will be studying a variety of proposals, including one to create a fund financing infrastructure in the four member states and which may eventually be supported by other countries willing to invest — such as China, Arabic states and Singapore.
In what President Santos called a “process of collaboration that goes much further than the commercial aspect,” a further initiative will also look to regularize the price control system for medicine, which Santos affirms is overly expensive in the Alliance’s member states.
One of the key aspects of the summit will also be the freeing up of tariffs on 92% of commercial trade between the four countries, while the remaining 8% will also see taxes steadily removed over time.
“As these economies strengthen in unity we will be able to compete much better with the rest of the world,” Santos stated.
More than just a Free Trade Agreement, the Colombian president assured the public that the summit would facilitate the free movement of both people and capital. As an example, the head of state highlighted how Mexico’s decision to remove visa requirements for Colombians entering the country coincided with a 35% rise in tourism.
Santos declared that “there are always winners and losers,” but “Colombia will have many more winners than losers.”
“For these losers, as usual, we will try and make the costs as small as possible.”