MEXICO CITY – The Pacific Alliance, a Latin American trade bloc made up of Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Peru, accepted Serbia, the United Arab Emirates and Belarus as observer states, Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray said on Friday.
With the three new additions, 55 countries are now serving as observer states, Videgaray told reporters after the final meetings of the Pacific Alliance’s XIX Council of Ministers Summit in Mexico City.
“We also received a letter from the government of Ecuador showing interest in moving closer to the Pacific Alliance, which we read with pleasure and enthusiasm,” he said.
During the summit, the ministers addressed the negotiations to accept Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Singapore as associate members.
Mexico’s deputy finance secretary, Miguel Messmacher, presented the progress made by the Alliance’s Council of Finance Ministers during the last year.
Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin said that Messmacher’s report showed “the high degree of complementarity between the member-countries.”
Representatives from the four countries are working on establishing a regional infrastructure fund as well as a catastrophe fund to deal with natural disasters.
These initiatives, Videgaray said, “are going to be the major deliverables” during the XIII Pacific Alliance Summit, which will take place from July 23-24 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
With a combined population of 225 million, the Pacific Alliance countries represent the sixth largest economy in the world and make up 41 percent of Latin America’s GDP.
In 2016, the Pacific Alliance members exported goods worth more than $500 billion, 57 percent of all Latin American exports, and they attracted 43 percent of foreign direct investments in the region out of a total of $58.5 billion.