Peruvian president Ollanta Humala said he favoured the incorporation of the United States as observer to the Alliance of the Pacific, a free trade, pro-business and open market group made up of Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.
“This could be Latinamerica’s decade, but for this to happen several crucial elements must be present, and I believe the participation of the US if fundamental” said President Humala addressing the Chamber of Commerce in Washington.
“We have anticipated our pre-disposition for the US, if they wish, to participate in the Pacific Alliance”, the group that was created only 18 months ago but has already caught the attention of much of the Pacific basin and Latam countries dissatisfied with the functioning of the other regional group Mercosur that includes South America’s two largest economies, Brazil and Argentina.
The Alliance of the Pacific “is not ideological, it’s an issue of common interests” which also enables the creation of a block inside the economic forum of 21 nations of the Pacific Basin APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation)”, pointed out the Peruvian leader.
President Humala this week was on his first official visit to Washington, which included a meeting at the White House with President Barack Obama. Peru and the US are partners in a free trade agreement and bilateral trade last year reached 16 billion dollars.
Obama described Peru as one Washington’s most reliable and strategic partners in the region.
The two countries are also holding negotiations for the creation of an even major free trade zone along the Pacific basin, the Trans Pacific Partnership, which includes the participation of eleven countries from APEC.
The Pacific Alliance already has nine observers, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama, Uruguay, Spain, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Paraguay has also started discussions to become an observer and Uruguay a full member of the Alliance, despite warnings from Brazil that Mercosur decisions are ‘unanimous’.