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.
In my view, it is the right organization for the 21st century - the right model of free trade, market integration and prosperity - and it boosts four vibrant economies that are already running ahead in the region, said minister Swire.
The scope and potential of the Pacific Alliance project is vast. The four economies represent 40% of Latin American GDP; a market of 215 million people; and half of Latin American exports to the rest of the world.
And in the three years since the founding of the Pacific Alliance, progress has been swift, with achievements including the recent integration of the Mexican stock exchange into the Latin American Integrated Market, known as MILA; the 2013 agreement to abolish 92% of trade tariffs, with the remainder abolished by 2020; and the removal of visa regimes.
Impressive progress, I am sure you will agree said Swire adding that with our objectives closely aligned, we can work together in areas of mutual interest.
The minister then mentioned three areas of mutual interest: First, we do business together to the benefit of our respective economies – trade between the UK and the Pacific Alliance surpassed £7bn last year and is likely to continue to grow.
Second, we work together to tackle climate change - the UK welcomed the helpful Pacific Alliance declaration on climate change made at COP20 in Lima last year.
And third, a program of activity and exchanges in the fields of innovation, competition and education.
For all these reasons, and more, the UK is delighted to be an observer to the Pacific Alliance underlined Hugo Swire. Looking ahead, our status as an observer will allow us to continue to explore new ways to support the Alliance.
For example, the Lord Mayor is taking business delegations to Colombia, Peru and Mexico next month: another opportunity to discuss British expertise in areas of common interest - such as financial markets and capital market development, and a secondment program between our respective governments, and academic and private sector organizations will benefit us all.
Finally, minister Swire announced the creation of the Pacific Alliance Chevening scholarships. The scholarships, starting this September, will combine the prestigious Chevening scholarship brand with the goals and values the UK shares with the Pacific Alliance, promoting growth and a rules-based economic system.
An exciting program of networking events, policy roundtables and visits will provide valuable opportunities to exchange ideas, expertise and knowledge – and create a cadre of exceptional Pacific Alliance Chevening scholars who can advance the work of the Alliance after their studies”, concluded Swire.