CALI, Colombia – The 12th Pacific Alliance being held in Cali began on Friday to widen its horizons with the official announcement of its first four associate states and three more observer countries.
The summit of presidents of the member countries began Friday with the attendance of Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, Chile’s Michelle Bachelet, Mexico’s Enrique Peña Nieto and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski of Peru.
Added to those four countries, which make up the Pacific Alliance, will be the new associate states of Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Singapore.
Associate states will be those with which the four member nations are meeting to enact a binding accord that sets high standards in trade and economic matters.
Up to now, the bloc has had 52 observer countries, which are those that share the principles and goals established by the alliance’s guidelines, and which now include Croatia, Slovenia and Lithuania, according to official sources.
Different meetings will be held behind closed doors on Friday and Bachelet will hand over the pro tem presidency of the bloc to Colombia.
Pacific Alliance countries in all number some 225 million inhabitants and in 2015 its per capita GDP was approximately $17,000.
In that same year, countries of the bloc received more than $69 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI), representing 44 percent of the total amount invested in Latin America and the Caribbean.
As a result, the Pacific Alliance as a bloc has become the world’s eighth largest economy and represents 39 percent of GDP of Latin America plus the Caribbean.