LIMA – The Pacific Alliance is celebrating its 14th summit in Peru, a new milestone in the history of an organization.
The group was created in April 2011 with the commitment to achieve the free circulation of goods, services, capital and people among its member countries.
With a consolidated integration between Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru and with other countries willing to enter permanently, like Ecuador, the organization will have to face several challenges in the medium and long term for the success of its initiative and to face inevitable growth crises.
1.- ECONOMIC INTEGRATION AND GREATER POLITICAL INTEGRATION
The growing economic and commercial integration among its members, practically absolute in terms of goods, and with advances in terms of capital mobility, in the financial and regulatory sphere, indicates that the group will have to consider whether it wants greater political integration.
Although the aspiration of the association’s entrepreneurs is to resemble the European Union, this issue formally “is not on the agenda.”
The political harmony between the governments of the countries of the association might not be enough to soften a step that by many sectors, in almost all countries, would be rejected with virulence.
2.- RELATIONS WITH OTHER REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
The Pacific Alliance is the most dynamic trade bloc in the region and, according to its members, its possibilities are enormous.
However, other regional nations subsist and articulate in one way or another, with less validity but with greater experience, almost all the countries of the continent.
The Alliance will have to maintain fluid relations with the other groups, to grow, expand markets and boost trade, as well as to integrate a larger number of economies.
The Andean Community, which brings together the countries of the Alliance and its sphere of influence, such as Peru, Colombia and Ecuador, could be key to integrating Bolivia into some kind of continental scheme.
With the Southern Common Market, the ambition is more direct and the global political and economic situation could facilitate a closer approach.
3.- GROW, CHALLENGE OR NEED
For Alfonso Bustamante, one of the business leaders of the Alliance, expanding it is both a “challenge and a necessity.”
In the logic of commercial blocks, the bigger the market, the better the chances of success.
Now, the combined economies of the four formal members of the group would be the seventh world power, and any growth would further strengthen their position.
Ecuador is willing to be the fifth member in a short time and there are several continental and Asia-Pacific observers very interested in the evolution of the Alliance.
However, internal political balances and variations and ideological misgivings can complicate an expansion that will also have to deal with harshness among several of its members.
4.- PRESERVE THE IMPETUS
In seven years of life, the Alliance has taken giant steps in its aspirations, objectives and materialization of projects, with an unusual enthusiasm and political support from the member countries insurmountable.
Maintaining this rhythm will be complicated and a real challenge for those involved.
That happens, as Bustamante told Efe, to “show goals,” obtain tangible results that can be transferred to the citizen and that end up benefiting him on a day-to-day basis.
5.- GLOBAL CRISES: CHINA AND USA
The global context cannot be indifferent to anyone, and the trade crisis between China and the US marks the agenda of all the institutions of integration in the world.
Particularly for the Alliance, whose countries have among its main buyers China and the US and who negotiate extensively with them, a worsening of the relationship between the giants can have remarkable consequences.
While not having to choose between one or the other, the Alliance will continue well, although individually their countries will be affected.
“What comes to us is that the biggest losers in the fight are us, we sell them both, and both economies will grow less if they are isolated, and the bill will come to us,” the businessmen of the Alliance said.