I would like to share with you some insights on what I see are issues in which the PA should focus attention during 2016:
- The Commercial Protocol entering into force early in the year and the corresponding steps for the implementation of many of its provisions. Two examples are the provisions on mutual recognition of professional licencies/authorisations/certifications to professional services suppliers, and the working plan on harmonization for sanitary and phytosanitary measures. The particular implementation of the commercial protocol should be accompanied with a road map allowing follow up on the progress made.
- Definition of the steps forward for the formation and consolidation of regional value chains through the design of regional policies in this regard, including strategies for participation of SMEs. This issue is a basic example of how important the design and construction of regional policies will be for the long term vision of the PA. The PA as a whole should not underestimate the importance of the members insertion into other regional value chains, for instance in Asia, with products and inputs of more added value rather that just primary raw materials.
- Reflecting on the current institutional/organisational design and the way it expands to respond to the demands for growth. AP needs to assess the sustainability of this dynamic on institutional growth since the agenda on topic enriches with almost every presidential declaration. In this realm PA requires the definition of an institutionalised mechanism for the dispute settlement. The technical group on Institutional Matters has the task of developing this mechanism, but it is yet to be produced, risking the possibility that disputes arise before it is defined and implemented.
- Strategy to enhance economic and political relations with the Asia Pacific. As suggested in the previous post (www.pacificallianceblog.com) by professor Adriana Roldán, PA requires a clearer strategy and work plan for closer ties with the Asia Pacific. The technical group on External Relations seems to be developing particular activities on inter-regional relations with other regional schemes in Asia, but it is not clear what is the overarching strategy underpinning these particular efforts.
- Definition of a strategy on rapprochement towards the Mercosur. It is not a secret that AP members follow a different approach to Mercosur leaders and this situation has made it difficult to set a point of convergence between both regional integration schemes. The election of a new President in Argentina, Mauricio Macri, seems to have set a refresh stage to invigorate the dialogue between the two schemes. He certainly represents a move from the previous perspectives supported by the Argentina’s former president Cristina Fernandez and aligns better with the views defended by smaller members such as Paraguay and Uruguay on the attention that needs to be put forward by Mercosur to the PA. However the need for rapprochement between both schemes is not a straight forward point and some sectors suggest that the search for closer ties with Mercosur should wait a bit longer for the consolidation of the PA internal market and some internal definitions within Mercosur with the recent entrance of Bolivia and the possible entrance of Ecuador to Mercosur.
I look forward to your comments and views on the challenges for the PA in this 2016!