Wednesday, January 30th 2013 - 06:47 UTC

Pacific alliance pledges to liberalize intra-trade for 90% of products by March 31

The Alliance of the Pacific, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico have agreed to liberalize 90% of products traded between the group before the end of March 31, a decision which runs counter to the growing protectionism implemented by some of the region’s largest economies on the Atlantic.

President Santos: the most ambitious and important integration process

The four nations made the announcement over the weekend in Santiago de Chile. The four have trade agreements with the world’s leading economies such as the United States, European Union and China, plus accords among them that benefit exports with preferential tariffs.

Chilean president Sebastián Piñera said that the target is to take tariffs to zero for all the goods traded by the alliance, which was only recently born as a political association and is seen as counter to the Mercosur customs’ union headed by Brazil and Argentina.

“It means that at least 90% of products will be free of all tariffs in trade among our countries, while the other 10% will have a timetable to rapidly reach 100%”, said Piñera although he gave no more details on the terms and deadline for its implementation.

Argentina and Brazil on the Atlantic have been applying protectionist measures to safeguard their industries which were strongly criticized by the United States, European Union and Japan, among others and led to formal dispute presentations before the World Trade Organization.

Piñera made the announcement at the end of the CELAC/EU summit in which Brussels that is trying to strengthen trade and investment links with Latinamerica after four years of recession, called on the region to play by the rules of free trade and reject protectionism and protectionist temptations.

“This is probably the most significant and ambitious integration process in the history of Latinamerica”, said Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos standing next to his peers from Chile, Peru and Mexico.

The European Union has been discussing for over 18 years with Mercosur for a cooperation and free trade agreement. However EU agriculture subsidies and the Latinamerican reluctance to lower tariffs for manufactured goods and services had again stalled the talks that had resumed three years ago in Madrid, Spain.

Chile, Colombia and Peru, commodities exporting countries have been growing sustainedly for the last ten years and attract most direct foreign investment to the region.

5 comments Feed

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1 Anglotino (#) Jan 30th, 2013 - 01:14 pm Report abuse
Well there is a clear economic divide though Latin America. Mercosur versus the Alianza del Pacífico .

Countries are free to choose and the next few years will prove which is better. What's interesting is that Mercosur has been around for 22 years and the Pacific Alliance isn't even formally a year old.

The Pacific Alliance are already merging their stock exchanges and linking their university systems. Also unlike Mercosur they are outward looking with observer status conferred on distant countries such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

It would seem that the Pacific Alliance is much more active in concrete actions instead of the waffle and bluster of Mercosur that actively discourages outward looking and whose members concurrently sabotages its internal mechanisms for short term gain.
2 redpoll (#) Jan 30th, 2013 - 02:48 pm Report abuse
Anglo Theres one word I object to - political. Any agreement or alliance should be about trade and nowt else. The minute these types of alliances start talking about political or monetary union things stat going wrong as they have with the Eu and the Mercosur
3 ChrisR (#) Jan 30th, 2013 - 07:29 pm Report abuse
On a light note: anybody else think that Santos looks like William Shatner?

4 Anglotino (#) Jan 30th, 2013 - 08:20 pm Report abuse
@2 redpoll

I totally agree. You only ave to look at the CER between NZ and Australia to realise that there is no need for a top heavy supranational layer to sit above everyone. We have managed free movement of people and trade, common standards and defence cooperation and don't even have a secretariat. Admittedly only two countries and both similar however it shows it can be done. Hopefully the Pacific Alliance is also pragmatic as they seem to be results focused and not prestige focused.

@3 ChrisR
I... see... what... you... mean. The similarities are indeed... striking!

Sorry that was my best Shatner impression available when typing! You are so right I'm PMSL.
5 Elena (#) Feb 04th, 2013 - 07:22 pm Report abuse
Great, just hope it serves well populations of all countries. :)

I heard Brazil and Portugal asked to be members.

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