Argentine president Mauricio Macri pledged full support for Mercosur which he defined as a 'long term strategic project', called for a quick trade agreement with the European Union and closer ties with 'our partners from the Pacific Alliance'.
Chilean president Michelle Bachelet called for a convergence among governments of South America despite the political and ideological differences, and anticipated that Chile will strongly promote the rapprochement between Mercosur and the Pacific Alliance.
Paraguay foreign minister Eladio Loizaga advanced some of the issues that will addressed on Monday's Mercosur presidential summit, when all of the members of the group's heads of state have confirmed their attendance, except Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro, plus leaders from associate members.
Latin America is expanding at a 'two-speed' rate according to the latest report from the Spanish bank BBVA, pointing out that the Pacific Alliance is expected to grow 2.5% in 2015/16, while Mercosur will be lagging with a contraction of 2% to 1.5%.
Brazil is still by far the largest economy in Latin America despite its recession and the impact of the devaluation of the Real, according to the latest report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which said Venezuela dropped to the position of the region’s seventh-largest economy with a GDP that’s now half the size of Colombia’s.
Of all four Pacific Alliance countries, Colombia spends most on its congressional representatives, despite the South American country’s low wages. According to a report published on Monday by economic newspaper La Republica, the state pays Colombia’s congressmen a total of nearly $2.1 million per month in salaries, almost double the total of Chile, whose congressmen have the highest individual salaries, but in total cost the state $1.2 million per month.
Uruguay's foreign minister said on Friday that nobody supports the proposal from the Brazilian Senate president Renan Calheiros to put an end to the Mercosur customs union. However he did point out that he proposal exposed that the block effectively is 'not working' and needs to have its foundations reviewed.
The Xth summit of the Pacific Alliance took off on Wednesday with the attendance of presidents from Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru at the Peruvian sea-side resort of Paracas.
Chile will insist at the two-day Pacific Alliance summit which took off on Wednesday in Paracas, Peru, that a convergence with Mercosur is needed to ensure the integration of Latina America, and this is more evident now that both groupings face similar challenges such as falling prices for commodities, normalization of US monetary policy and an international context of slow growth.
UK Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire has introduced a new set of Chevening scholarships for Latin America, the “Pacific Alliance Chevening scholarships”, arguing that the success of the Pacific Alliance forms an integral part of Britain's re-engagement with the region.