The Asian nation of Singapore Wednesday became the first country to join the Pacific Alliance as an Associated State to the group made up of Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru.
Singapore's commitment was signed during the XVI Summit of the Pacific Alliance in Bahía Málaga, in Colombia, which involved Trade and Foreign Ministers from the member countries, while the the Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, joined in a virtual format. The Presidents of Colombia, Peru and Chile were also present at the event.
Lee Hsien Loong said his country felt honored to become the group's first associated state and was confident this agreement will strengthen trade and create stronger ties between nations.
The figure of the Associated State was created to establish commercial agreements between third parties and the four member countries of the Pacific Alliance, a political and commercial integration mechanism established in 2011 by Chile, Colombia, Peru and Mexico.
The deal with Singapore also seeks to increase investment and strengthen economic alliances in areas of mutual interest such as infrastructure, digital economy, energy and sustainability, it was reported.
“Most think of Asia and Latin America as two regions separated by distance, language and culture. However, they are more connected than you might imagine... some of the largest companies in the Pacific Alliance such as Ecopetrol, Cemex and Codelco have established a commercial presence in Singapore and we hope that more will continue,” the Singaporean Prime Minister also said.
According to Colombia's Ministry of Commerce, the free trade agreement must comply with formalities at the Legislatures of each member country. In Colombia, the green light from the Constitutional Court is also required. Hence, ”the agreement will enter into force when at least two countries of the Alliance finalize their internal procedures,” Colombia's Commerce Minister María Ximena Lombana said in a statement.
Singapore's Minister of Commerce and Industry Gan Kim Yong also attended Wednesday's Summit, as did Ecuador's President Guillermo Lasso, whose country is also interested in joining the Alliance.
During this Summit, Colombia is to hand over the group's pro-tempore presidency to Mexico.