The current regional integration of Latin America is too slow in light of the challenges the region faces, a United Nations economic agency official said on Wednesday, calling for greater efforts to rev up the process.
Osvaldo Rosales, director for International Trade and Integration with the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), made the remarks in an interview with Xinhua.
Considering the reality of the global economy, the integration process in Latin America and the Caribbean is becoming more and more urgent, and we would like to see that steps taken are faster, Rosales said.
There are minor advances in one or another integration scheme, but the regional level it is slow which, frankly, does not coincide with the magnitude of the challenges that the region faces, Rosales added.
The Eclac official mentioned as isolated examples the creation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, the Deep Integration Project, signed by government leaders of Peru, Colombia, Mexico and Chile in April, as well as the Latin American Integrated Markets, formed by the stock exchanges of Chile, Peru and Colombia in May.
To help advance the integration process of Latin America, Eclac has presented a proposal to leaders of the region insisting on the need to advance trade convergence and other issues including infrastructure, logistics, transportation, innovation and education, according to Rosales.
The Eclac proposal also includes a list of topics that go beyond trade, but have greater cooperation potential and would be helpful in advancing regional integration, said Rosales, who did not elaborate.
There are difficulties in moving the integration process ahead but Rosales also admits that “there haven't been any back steps in the processes of regional integration either”.
”The bottom line is to seize the time and opportunity and elaborate a detailed plan on how to approach the Asia-Pacific region in an integrated way”, underlined Rosales.
This is particularly crucial since the world pendulum has moved to the Pacific basin and Asia and China are rapidly becoming the main trade and investment associates of Latin America.