Possible economic integration of Mercosur and Pacific Alliance

Ministers of the Pacific Alliance, formed by Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, open a dialogue with colleagues from Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela) in Chilean territory

Chile managed to accept the Pacific Alliance initiate contacts with the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) in July, in order to join efforts to boost economic integration, said Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz.

Ministers of the Pacific Alliance, formed by Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, open a dialogue with colleagues from Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela) in Chilean territory, where he also held a seminar with academics, businessmen and officials on regional integration.

These meetings, the exact date is yet to be defined, agreed at the meeting of foreign ministers of the Pacific Alliance ended Friday in Mexico City.

Munoz said Chilean Foreign Minister proposed "convergence dialog Pacific Partnership with Mercosur and other Latin American integration consulting, so that we are seen as a whole and not separated" was accepted.

"We are realistic about this, are pragmatic and we will move forward with other agencies and other countries outside the Alliance (Pacific) in all these commercial purposes have to do with integration where that is feasible."

So far, the Pacific Alliance has not included as full rest to other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean members, although he has accepted to countries in other regions as observers.

Created in 2012, the Pacific Alliance was formed mostly by conservative governments, such as former President Sebastián Piñera, which drew criticism at the time by the progressive and leftist sectors.

In previous statements the president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, said "Pacific Alliance should not become an exclusionary ideological pact", so felt that you can not leave out the integration process of Latin American countries Atlantic.

According to Foreign Minister Muñoz, the Bachelet government "has some fundamental principles of continuity, but also has elements of change", whose main element is the strengthening of ties with Latin America and the Caribbean, particularly in South America. "

"We want to return to being protagonists of regional policy, not only as a matter of tradition, common history, but because we can speak to the world from Latin America, from what we are," said Chilean Foreign Minister.

Muñoz said the Pacific Alliance is an important instance of integration for his country, "and that Chile is open to the world and is also a trade platform of the countries that comprise it and the rest of the region in the direction of Asia Pacific , which is the horizon of the future."

"Chile can be the bridge port to that country or region of the world, but we have to do it with others, such as Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil," he reiterated.

The foreign ministers agreed in Mexico City to perform in Chile a meeting of trade ministers of Pacific Alliance and Mercosur, as well as a seminar with academics, businessmen and officials.

Also the agenda of the presidential summit of Pacific Alliance to be held on 19 and 20 June in Punta Mita, in the Mexican state of Nayarit (west), where Colombia Mexico receive from the pro tempore presidency of this integration mechanism.

Chilean Foreign Minister confirmed the presence at the meeting of President Bachelet.

Similarly the work program with observer countries and thematic areas of interest coincide with the pillars of the alliance and were admitted as observers to Trinidad and Tobago and Belgium was adopted.

The foreign ministers agreed to hold events to promote new meeting spaces in the sporting, cultural and dining areas as well as an exhibition on metals that characterize the member countries and the implementation of strategies to strengthen small and medium enterprises region.

Pacific Alliance has accepted the participation of 30 observer countries in the integration process, which seeks gradually achieving free movement of goods, services, capital and people.

Panama aims to become a full member, as well as Costa Rica.

Among the observers are Ecuador, Uruguay, El Salvador, United States, Canada, Germany, Spain, Italy and China,

Mexico's meeting was preceded by a meeting of deputy ministers with representatives of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Business Council of the Alliance.

According to the Chilean government, gross domestic product (GDP) of the four countries of the Pacific Alliance represent 37 percent of total GDP in Latin America and the Caribbean and its average growth rate is 4 percent, with GDP per capita is $ 9.922 currents.

In February this year the four governments signed the Protocol to the Framework Agreement for the Pacific Alliance, which releases 92 percent of the tariff items of intraregional trade.

Its main exports are fuels and mining, agricultural and manufacturing products, so that your offer is complementary to the Asia Pacific markets.

In addition, the Alliance Pacific accounts for 42 percent of total Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 47 percent of foreign trade in the region, an increase of 5 per cent of exports and 4 percent in imports, compared to 2012.

The (FDI) Foreign Investment reaches about 85.531 million dollars and in 2013 received 33 million foreign tourists.

Source: Xinhua News Agency

traslation: Belén Zapata