Tuesday, March 18th 2014 - 22:00 UTC

Chile suggests the Pacific Alliance and Mercosur should consider integration

Chile's new foreign minister Heraldo Muñoz ratified his country's membership of the Pacific Alliance, a much questioned group by other regional organizations such as the Venezuelan inspired ALBA and even Mercosur led by Brazil, and suggested that Mercosur and the Pacific Alliance could consider integration. Chile is currently an associate member of Mercosur.

Minister Muñoz, attempting a delicate balance between two groups that have strong differences

 In a column published in the Spanish newspaper El País, under the heading of “The new Latin-American policy of Chile”, Muñoz underlined that the Chilean foreign policy will not be tainted of ideology, but rather to advance pragmatically towards a more integrated region and with its own identity.

Muñoz said that the priority of the new government of President Michelle Bachelet will be the region, and more specifically South America, and also referred to the Pacific Alliance (created during the period of conservative president Sebastián Piñera). The Chilean government values the Pacific Alliance as “an economic integration scheme and a trade platform of collective projection towards the Asia-Pacific region”.

However Muñoz rejected any interpretation of the Pacific Alliance as an excluding ideological or antagonist block with other integration projects. “As a matter of example we should discuss the possibility of materializing a convergence of the Pacific Alliance with Mercosur”, the Chilean official wrote.

The comment seemed to the addressed to countries from the Bolivarian ALBA group such as Venezuela and Bolivia which among others have criticized the Pacific Alliance arguing that its members have a greater affinity with White House policies. The fact is that the Alliance brings together some of the most successful economies from the region and with better growth projection in South America.

Mercosur on the other hand which has been in discussions with the European Union for an ambitious cooperation and trade agreement has yet been unable to reach such an objective, while the Pacific Alliance has already addressed the challenge, since all of its members (Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico) already have such unilateral trade accords with Brussels.

Mercosur hopefully this month will present its European counterpart a much delayed proposal of tariff reductions for goods and services on which to elaborate the basis for the trade agreements. Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay have agreed on a very ambitious proposal while Argentina has been dragging its feet. Venezuela only recently joined Mercosur and is not part of the current negotiations with the EU.

Muñoz argues that “the concept applied by the European Union of 'different speeds' should be adopted” in such a way that those countries that can and are in condition to do so, effectively advance at a faster pace than the rest involved in the integration process.

“Convergence in diversity is the policy Chile will attempt to promote in Latin America. It's an option that combines realism with political commitment in advancing to a more integrated and autonomous region” concludes Minister Muñoz, speaking for President Michelle Bachelet.

The Pacific Alliance is more pro business and private sector; favors foreign investment; promotes less government intervention in economic affairs and low tariffs to boost trade. All of which seems to be contrary to what Mercosur has been doing so in recent years despite its ambitious original 1991 charter, closer to the Pacific Alliance performance.

22 comments Feed

Note: Comments do not reflect MercoPress’ opinions. They are the personal view of our users. We wish to keep this as open and unregulated as possible. However, rude or foul language, discriminative comments (based on ethnicity, religion, gender, nationality, sexual orientation or the sort), spamming or any other offensive or inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated. Please report any inadequate posts to the editor. Comments must be in English. Thank you.

1 LatAmBurgher (#) Mar 18th, 2014 - 10:19 pm Report abuse
Well, that didn't take long, PS... can't you just let the Pacific Alliance simmer for a little bit?

I'm hoping that this Bachelet administration takes any move towards integration with MERCOSUR carefully... pick them off one by one, if they have to, starting with Paraguay and/or Uruguay. It would be smart to stay away from Argentina or Brazil for a good long while.
2 Stevie (#) Mar 18th, 2014 - 10:21 pm Report abuse
3 bushpilot (#) Mar 18th, 2014 - 10:56 pm Report abuse
It doesn't take long for a leftist to turn a good thing into garbage, does it?
4 Anglotino (#) Mar 18th, 2014 - 11:19 pm Report abuse
Actually there is nothing new in what Muñoz is saying.

The Pacific Alliance is not an inclusive club, it has always advocated integration with as many countries as possible. I mean look at the extremely long list of observer countries.

The biggest problem for Mercosur is that the Pacific Alliance has already moved so far ahead on some integration issues that Mercosur dare not touch. While there can be a convergence, it would be impossible for Mercosur to converge too much unless it was willing to play catchup.

Chile has been an Associate Member of Mercosur since 1996 and Colombia and Peru are too, with Mexico as an Observer.

It is nice to see that the Bachelet government is going to continue with the Pacific Alliance and grow it.
5 Stevie (#) Mar 18th, 2014 - 11:23 pm Report abuse
They could always ask you on how o make it happen, Anglolatino...
6 Anglotino (#) Mar 19th, 2014 - 12:03 am Report abuse
Well they sure as hell aren't going to ask you!

7 Troy Tempest (#) Mar 19th, 2014 - 01:33 am Report abuse


BAZINGA !!!! Bah ha ha ha ha ha...
8 so_far (#) Mar 19th, 2014 - 01:52 am Report abuse
“The new Latin-American policy of Chile“

”...the priority of the new government of President Michelle Bachelet will be the region, and more specifically South America...”

Told you......interesting things are coming......wait.

Las Malvinas son Argentinas
9 Anglotino (#) Mar 19th, 2014 - 02:23 am Report abuse
Wait for what?

Was the region less a priority for the last government? I find that hard to believe when Chile became a founding member of a new trade alliance with other countries in the region. Dropped tariffs, liberalised visas and opened a shared embassy.

Bachelet is going to continue with Pacific Alliance AND promote further integration within and without.

That is hardly earth-shattering, but more par for the course.

And Las Malvinas may be Argentina, but thankfully that doesn't change the fact that the Falkland Islanders are British.
10 Stevie (#) Mar 19th, 2014 - 05:30 am Report abuse
I'm glad you support the new order in SA, Anglotino.

But nothing in SA is British...
11 Anglotino (#) Mar 19th, 2014 - 07:26 am Report abuse

Please spell out the “new order in SA” as you see it.

You seem to think you are on fire at the moment and everyone else is flat-footed. But all you are doing is making glib unsubstantiated claims left, right and centre.

I have always supported integration in South America. There is nothing that Chile has recently stated that I find inconvenient nor new. They fully support the Pacific Alliance and support further integration with Mercosur. That is the same policy as the old government.

Where is the “new”?

This is the fifth time centre-left presidents have been in power since 1990. So 20 of the previous 24 years have NOT been centre-right. I am unsure what you base your claim of some sort of new economic or political paradigm starting in Chile.

And as a recent convert to the rights of self-determination, you now have to admit and support the Falkland Islander's right to be British.

Unless you are a hypocrite. It seems that fascists deny self-determination rights according to you.
12 GeoffWard2 (#) Mar 19th, 2014 - 10:09 am Report abuse
Chile should stick to good old-fashioned economic development.

Any formal link with Mercosur countries would hog-tie Chile in Marxist ideological overlays to economic policy ... a bad, bad thing.

Yes, a variable speed approach to involvement with their own and other trading blocs; other blocs have shown how to achieve this.
Argentina will still be dragged along the road on a long leash, snarling and growling, but for Argentina's own good Brasil and Chile should not let go of the leash.
Once Brasil's macroeconomic policy drops the poop that it picked up - VE-type Bolivarism - Brasil can once more start moving ahead ... to the greater benefit of all South American countries.
13 St.John (#) Mar 19th, 2014 - 12:27 pm Report abuse
Heraldo Muñoz must be completely off his rocker if he actually suggested that sucessful Pacific Alliance should integrate with dysfunctional Mercosur.

Gosh, the types who results from growing up in the mists of pesticides, herbicides and general pollution.
14 the_Truth_shall_B_Trolld (#) Mar 19th, 2014 - 02:00 pm Report abuse

15 Condorito (#) Mar 19th, 2014 - 02:35 pm Report abuse
You are right to say:
“That is the same policy as the old government. ”

but, Mami gets away with soooo much more.

In her first term she continued to liberalize trade and took Chile to the enviable position of having free trade access to more of the world's citizens than any other country (I need to check that, but I'm close enough). Did anyone wince? Did anyone complain? Nope.
Mami beat the sh*t out of the students for months on end. No problem.
Mami spent more on defence. No problem.
Mami okayed Hidroaysen. No problem.
Mami used special anti-terror powers on the Mapuche protests. No problem.

When Mami says she wants more integration with MS, what she really means is that she wants them to stop ferkin about and drop protectionist measures. And 'cause it's Mami they will have to behave.
16 Think (#) Mar 19th, 2014 - 05:47 pm Report abuse
(15) Condorito, my little Shilean brother... You don't understand our Mami... You are too young to understand our Mami... One day, when you grow up, you will understand our Mami...

Your big brother from Allende (PRESENTE!) la cordillera...
17 Condorito (#) Mar 19th, 2014 - 07:13 pm Report abuse
@ 16 Think
Oh brother from another mother, you are correct, I certainly don't understand your Mami. She's unhinged.

Ask François Hollande how he got on. Your Mami was recently seen at Élysée Palace on her knees.
18 Think (#) Mar 19th, 2014 - 07:24 pm Report abuse
(17) Condorito

There can only be one Mami...
And her name is Michelle...

Speaking about Hidroaysen....:

Main reason why we don't like Hidroaysen in Chubut...:
19 ChrisR (#) Mar 19th, 2014 - 07:40 pm Report abuse
Has this guy got a death wish?

“Mercosur led by Brazil,”

Just wait until TMBOA gets back from her shopping and sex trip and she will scweem and scweem until she makes herself sick (again) but nothing will change. The Dark Country will still fall behind every other country on the continent.
20 Condorito (#) Mar 19th, 2014 - 08:41 pm Report abuse
@ 18 Think
One can always rely on The Clinic for a laugh.

Hidroaysen: falling copper price, high energy prices, stalling investment ... it's going to be tough to walk away from a mega project that will deliver reusable energy.
21 Anglotino (#) Mar 19th, 2014 - 09:18 pm Report abuse

Agreed. It makes me laugh that people like Think, Stevie, Axel, Paul etc wax lyrical about Bachelet solely because of their simplistic understanding that she is of the left.

Centre-left in Chile is positively right-wing in places like Argentina and Venezuela.

While Bachelet may not have been your first choice for president, the simple fact is that she will do some good and some bad. Just like any president in Chile from either side of the spectrum.

Bachelet may try to warm the relationship with certain countries but I don't see her abandoning any of Chile's successful policies for some fraternal claptrap from the likes of Kirchner, Maduro or Dilma. Chile is successful partly because it does make connections with other countries in the best interests of Chile not in the best interests of some ideal.

Chile is ripe for some reforms to help it take the next step in development. While the ra-ra squad from Argentina will cheer with gusto every move and change she makes, the truth is that Chile will resemble Argentiba even LESS in 4 years than it does now.
22 ilsen (#) Mar 23rd, 2014 - 11:05 am Report abuse
Chile getting into bed with a basket case like Venezuela??

Noooo..! Stop the madness. Venezuela doesn't even have functioning currency any more. It is listed as the 189th worst country to do business in.

At least wait for regime change. .

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!


Get Email News Reports!

Get our news right on your inbox.
Subscribe Now!