On the 28th of April, the day on which the Alliance of the Pacific celebrated the 11th anniversary of its creation, the seminar “Alliance of the Pacific: Integrating Latin America and Connecting to the World” was held at the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs of Leiden University, Campus The Hague, in the Netherlands. The objective of this event was to highlight the achievements of this Latin American mechanism, both in terms of regional integration among its members and in terms of trade promotion and projection to the Asia-Pacific region.
The panel was composed by the Ambassadors to the Kingdom of the Netherlands of Chile, Fernando Grillo; Colombia, Hernán Salinas; Mexico, José Antonio Zabalgoitia; and Peru, Marisol Agüero Colunga; current members of the Alliance of the Pacific; accompanied by the Ambassador of Ecuador, Andrés Terán, as a candidate to Associated State; and the Ambassador of Singapore resident in Brussels, Hong Huai Lim, as the first Associated State.
With the aim of sharing a European perspective and possibilities for collaboration, the Netherlands being one of the 61 Observer States of the mechanism, the panel was also attended by the Director General of the Western Hemisphere Department of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Yvette van Eechoud.
This is the first time that an event of this nature has been held, bringing together not only Latin American ambassadors in The Hague, but also a diplomatic representative resident in Belgium and a high-ranking Dutch government official. This shows the scope and relevance of the Alliance of the Pacific in today’s international system, which was also evident during the panelists’ presentations on the Alliance’s achievements, particularly in terms of trade liberalisation and economic promotion, as well as its attractiveness and potential for linkages with other countries in Latin America, Asia and Europe.
The Alliance of the Pacific is an open, pragmatic, and innovative integration mechanism in Latin America. It was formally created on the 11th of April 2011, with the signing of the Lima Declaration, and its Framework Agreement entered into force on the 20th of July 2015. Comprising Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, it has a population of 231 million people and accounts for 41.7% of the GDP of the Latin American and Caribbean region, which would make it the ninth largest economy in the world.
These four countries attract 52.7% of foreign direct investment flows in Latin America and the Caribbean and account for 58.8% of the region’s total trade. With the entry into force of the Additional Protocol to the Framework Agreement on the 1st of May 2016, 92% of trade between its members was liberalised, with the aim of reaching 100% by 2030.
The free trade within the Alliance of the Pacific is 8th to the word economy, 230 millions of people and 56 millions fo tourists.
Among other important highlights we can mention FTA from 0 to 100 % in two years, the visa elimination for business and tourism, an academic mobility of +3,000 students, consular assistance, a shared diplomatic missions and a continuity strategic vision up to 2030
The Ambassador of Peru, H.E. Ms Marisol Aguero Colunga declared: “The four countries of the Alliance together, add up to nearly twenty-one thousand kilometres of continental coastline and the hydrobiological products figures are::
- Peru ranks 5th worldwide in marine capture fisheries,
- Mexico: 17th in the same category
- Chile: 7th in aquaculture; and
- Colombia: 2nd among the megadiverse countries in terms of freshwater fish species
According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and The Caribbean the exports of fishery products from the Alliance represent a total of 7% of world exports. It is important to recall that since the Alliance was established, fishery and aquaculture products have been included within the axis of free circulation of goods.
As a consequence of the evolution that the Group has had over time, last January the countries of the Alliance decided that the group will have some specific functions related to
- aquaculture, conservation and sustainable use of hydrobiological resources
- adoption of circular economy practices
- research and
- human consumption of fishery and aquaculture products” concluded.
The main objectives of the Alliance of the Pacific are to build an area of deep integration to advance the free movement of goods, services, capital, and people; to promote greater economic growth, development and competitiveness within its members; and to become a platform for economic and commercial integration and projection to the world, with emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region.