Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru Form Pacific Alliance
ANTOFAGASTA — On Wednesday, Chile signed an accord with Colombia, Mexico and Peru, creating the Pacific Alliance. The aim is to develop new trade links with Asia and more deeply integrate their economies.
Presidents from the four countries closed the deal at the Fourth Summit of the Pacific Alliance, which took place at the Paranal Observatory in Antofagasta. The Presidents of Costa Rica and Panama were also present among observers from Japan, Canada, and Australia. King Juan Carlos of Spain was also present.
The creation of such an alliance was first proposed in Lima last year, and since then Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru have moved quickly towards signing the accord. The Latin American bloc would encompass 215 million consumers and a GDP of approximately US$2 trillion – not an insignificant amount.
Opening the summit, President Piñera highlighted the unity between the four founding countries of the alliance, adding, “We are moving forwards towards a process of deep integration never before been seen on the continent.”
He noted that the alliance was important because it went “far beyond” the issue of free trade to “joining forces” to reach the Asia-Pacific market.
Finally, upon closing the events of the day, the Chilean president stated that, “The summit has been a tremendous success and will strengthen us in our task and mission to achieve growth, create opportunities, and beat poverty for our people. This is the objective of every government, which is to improve the quality of life for our compatriots.”
President Piñera was not alone in his enthusiasm for the alliance. Mexican President Felipe Calderón called the economic potential of the alliance “significant”, given the inclusion of Chile and Peru, two of Latin America’s fastest-growing economies.
Meanwhile, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos referred to the pact as the “most important integration process in Latin America,” adding that “we are against nobody but rather in favor of even greater integration”.
The first move of the alliance will be to drop visa requirements between the participating countries.
The bloc has received interest from Canada and Australia, while Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla has also made a formal request to join the alliance.