Presidents Alan García of Peru, Felipe Calderón of Mexico, Sebastián Piñera of Chile and Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia met on Thursday.
Peru, Today in Latin America

Mexico, Colombia, Peru & Chile Look To Integrate Their Economies And Expand Trade With Asia

April 29, 2011 By Staff

Presidents Alan García of Peru, Felipe Calderón of Mexico, Sebastián Piñera of Chile and Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia met on Thursday.

Today in Latin America

Top StoryFour of Latin America’s most pro-market governments signed an agreement Thursday to work toward integrating their economies and deepen their commercial ties with Asia.

The presidents of Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Peru met in Lima to form the Pacific Alliance, which creates a framework for “deep integration” and would eventually allow for an easier movement of goods, people and services. Ecuador and Panama could also possibly join the group.

The group could become the largest trade bloc in Latin America, surpassing the Mercosur common market of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.

The total combined value of the economies of the four nations is $872 billion, according to Mexican President Felipe Calderón. In comparison Mercosur’s value is around $543 billion.

“Our four nations, and Panama in the near future, represent 200 million people. Our countries account for 55 percent of Latin American exports,” said Peruvian President Alán García. “This is not a romantic integration, a poetic integration. It is a realistic integration with the world and to the world.”

The agreement is not yet set in stone, as it currently has no provisions and was described as merely “a roadmap” by Peruvian Foreign Minister José Antonio García Belaunde.

“It is important because these are countries with open-market economies that have strong growth and can aggressively enter Asian markets,” said economist Jorge González Izquierdo.

Last year trade between Asian nations and Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru totaled $6 billion, according to Peru’s tax authority Sunat.

Chile, Colombia and Peru formally integrate their stock markets this month as well, creating the second largest market in South America, after Brazil’s Bovespa.

Politically, the conservative group could act as a foil to the leftist Bolivarian Alliance (ALBA) group that includes Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua among other nations. Venezuela formally withdrew from the Andean Community of Nations trade pact last week, citing opposition to Peru and Colombia’s free trade policies toward the United States.

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  • It’s not easy preserving Peru’s historic sites, which get picked at by looters and face the looming threat of mass tourism. Latin America News Dispatch contributor Matt Barker reports the story from Trujillo, Peru.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

Caribbean

Central America

  • Guatemalan authorities arrested an alleged drug lord wanted by both Guatemala and the United States for aiding the transit of cocaine for a Mexican drug cartel, officials said.
  • Former Costa Rican President Miguel Angel Rodríguez was sentenced on Wednesday to five years prison in a bribery scandal at the state telecommunications company.

Andes

Southern Cone

Image: Gobierno Federal @ Flickr.

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