The presidents of the Pacific Alliance countries had a virtual meeting on May 6 to discuss the Pacific Alliance’s strategy towards 2030 and reiterate the instruction to the ministers to develop such a strategy, according to the Cali Declaration from last year. The presidents emphasised the requirement to propose a concrete plan to increase competitiveness and productivity, to strengthen the integration process and to disseminate the benefits of the PA to its citizens in a more effective way.
An interesting point of the brief declaration is that the presidents clearly spell out the commitment to develop deeper integration and its relation to the free movement of persons, goods, services and capital. The scope of the 2030 strategy is put on the spot by this connection and questions how instrumental it could be in reducing not only barriers to trade but also going beyond in proposing concrete actions towards coordination, regulatory harmonisation, recognition and convergence and the development of regional public goods.
Presidents will meet again on the 24th and 25th of July 2018 when the pro-tempore presidency will be passed on to Peru for a year.
In the meantime, the third round of negotiations for free trade agreements with potential associate states –Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Singapore– was held in Santiago, Chile from March 3rd through to the 9th. Parties reached agreements in the SMEs disciplines, transparency and regulatory improvement, general cooperation, and sanitary and phytosanitary rules.
Negotiators have anticipated that not everything could be negotiated as a bloc and some issues, particularly market access for goods, will require bilateral negotiations. On this occasion, the parties discussed the access offers for goods, services, investment and disciplines for the temporary entry of business people.
The next round of negotiations with associate candidates will be held in mid May in Ottawa, Canada.