The Pacific Alliance wrapped up this unusual year with its customary presidential meeting between the 10th and the 12th of December 2020. Chile hosted the series of events that, in an unprecedented way, used digital technologies to connect entrepreneurial and government officials across the four members, including the Mexican President — Andrés López Obrador — and the interim Peruvian President — Francisco Sagasti — who attended by videoconferencing. The meeting expected for mid-2020 had to be postponed due to COVID-19 travelling bans and other health measures. The presidents’ gathering was preceded by a series of sessions from the CEAP, the Council of Ministers and the technical groups.
Thus, it seems timely to recap on the PA’s progress this year, the shortcomings of the mechanism, which is close to its 10th anniversary, and options to move ahead in the near future. These insights consider the declarations and action plans set during this meeting and this year’s achievements.
The COVID-19 Action Plan
The PA celebrates the establishment and implementation of a COVID-19 Action Plan tailored to mitigate the pandemic’s effects and adopt economic recovery measures in thirteen areas including innovation, trade facilitation, information exchange, trade promotion and productive linkages. Following its characteristic practical approach, rather than grand design measures towards long-term economic recovery, the PA’s measures have one of these three scopes.
First, a targeted approach to solving specific problems such as allowing for the use of copies of non-digital origin certificates for product exports. This measure intended to avoid people’s physical movement for the administrative procedure to access preferential tariff treatment under the Commercial Protocol. Moving forward in the area of trade facilitation, this unexpected year calls the members’ attention to speed up the digitalisation of administrative procedures through their single windows and their regional interoperability. Let’s remind ourselves that there is a long road ahead for the full interoperability and electronic transmission of import and export certifications and other documents between the four single windows.