This week the Pacific Alliance Council of Ministers announced the approval of the guidelines for states to become associates of the PA. The move is a response to the persistent interest that some of the observer states have in the mechanism and a push to move forward with economic and political relations with those observer states of ‘higher interest’.
The brief guidelines outline the requirement that, to become an associate state, the candidate should conclude a mandatory economic and commercial agreement with the four PA members that follows ‘high standards‘. Although the guidelines are rather vague as to what constitutes a high standard agreement it seems to refer to the disciplines that shall be covered, including trade in goods, services and investment. It is also an underlying requirement that the agreement encourages openness and market integration along with its alignment with the general objectives of the PA.