CALI, Colombia – The presidents of Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru stressed on Thursday the importance of taking the next step and exploring new agreements on trade alliances, during the Pacific Alliance’s 12th biannual summit in the Colombian city of Cali.
The presidents of the four member states – Michelle Bachelet, from Chile; Juan Manuel Santos, from Colombia; Enrique Peña Nieto, from Mexico; and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, from Peru – attended the biannual summit with the commitment to “take a quality step” towards the matter.
“The Pacific Alliance was created precisely with this vision, not only to have the markets of the four countries integrated and to create an opportunity for free trade... but also to build a platform that would allow us to really meet other countries, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, and in any other part of the world,” the Mexican president said.
He said that the four nations, which as a trade bloc form the world’s eighth largest economy, aim to promote not only the trade but also the free transit of people, services and capital.
Santos, the host of the summit, said that one of the most important objectives for the Pacific Alliance is to serve as an ideal bloc and attract investment.
He also revealed earlier that Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Canada will be the first countries to become “associate-state” members of the group, but their missions have yet to be detailed.
When asked what factors attract investors, the president said that investors seek legal stability, as well as tax and economic stimuli, for which decisions are being made to promote intra-regional investments.
Meanwhile, Bachelet recalled that since the 2015 meeting in the Peruvian city of Paracas, the possibility of inviting members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), as well as China and South Korea, has been raised under the idea of an associate state.
She added that associate states sign a trade agreement with the Pacific Alliance to strengthen investment and trade as well as meet objectives under the framework of the Pacific Alliance.
Kuczynski said he was worried about the current economic state of Latin America and the Pacific Alliance.
“In 1917, Latin America formed eight percent of global GDP, today it is still 8 percent of global GDP. If we want to reach 10 or 12, we have to change things,” said Kuczynski, adding that “the Pacific Alliance is well on its way, but we have to think about formulas and soon associate states will give us new ideas.”
Kuczynski agreed with the presidents of the other three member countries that it is necessary to attract investors, but stressed that “the most important thing (...) is the prospect of growth.”
As part of the expansion plan, the Peruvian president opted for promoting tourism, pointing out that Peru receives almost 3.5 million tourists each year, most of whom are from Chile and other neighboring countries.
In 2015, the Pacific Alliance attracted more than $69 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI), which represented 44 percent of the total foreign investment in Latin America and the Caribbean and 39 percent of the regional GDP, turning the group into the eighth largest economy in the world.