The Pacific Alliance hosted meetings from the Ministers of Finance and the High-Level Group this week. What progress did they make?
During the XVI Meeting of Ministers of Finance, which took place in New York, they agreed to explore the option to issue a new catastrophic bond to cover risks of floods and droughts. This initiative is well received after the successful issuance of CAT Bonds to cover earthquake risks last February. The Pacific Alliance is also working on an agenda towards financial inclusion. Members agreed on the development of common criteria/standards for Fintech Regulation to promote these kinds of activities. They also reported some progress on the implementation of the Pacific Alliance Infrastructure Fund.
On the 24th of April 2018, the Deputy Ministers of Trade and Foreign Affairs held a virtual meeting to discuss the awaited 2030 Strategy for the Pacific Alliance, the entrance of the four associate members, and the next presidential meeting to take place in July. However, not much else is reported on the content and scope of this strategy and proposals are not publicly available for consultation on their website or through other means.
In the meantime, other regional players continue to explore membership to the Pacific Alliance. This is the case for Ecuador which has expressed interest in joining the mechanism on two occasions. Whether these intentions are to materialise seem unlikely in the short and even medium term. However, Ecuador’s statement is a strategic geopolitical move by president Lenin Moreno to distance from this predecessor’s foreign policy. With this announcement, Moreno makes the call that he wants to build new alliances during his presidency, ideologically different to the ones made by Correa. He wants to signal a more open and liberal approach to regionalism with the aim to embrace economic and political relations with the Asia Pacific beyond China.
How stable this resolution is as a state policy will be a challenge for Ecuador’s membership acceptance and would certainly test one of the openness features that the Pacific Alliance preaches. Adding a new full member with an unstable foreign policy orientation could prove disastrous for the future progress of a consensus-based intergovernmental mechanism such as the Pacific Alliance.