Chile and Pacific Alliance free up regional trade

Latest deal made between Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru would almost eliminate tariffs and promote collaboration across borders.

Ever since its creation in 2012, the Pacific Alliance has been working to increase cooperation and facilitate regional harmony.

The heads of state for the Alliance’s members, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, met in Cartagena de Indias in Colombia earlier this month to sign yet another impressive free trade agreement bringing the countries even closer together.

The latest agreement will decrease tarrifs in order to“liberalize immediately 92 percent of trade in goods and services with a firm commitment to reach 100 percent in the medium and long term.”

A positive move economically for the member states, this new deal continues Chile’s recent trend toward greater financial freedom — the country currently boasts the most trade agreements of any state in the world. However, as President Sebastián Piñera said after the agreement was signed, the Pacific Alliance is about much more than economics.

“This is a broad and deep alliance. Broad, because it not only seeks the free trade of goods, services, investments and the free movement of persons, but has also made inroads in other key areas where collaboration can make all the difference,” Piñera said. “Areas such as education, culture, health, technology, innovation, enterprise, the modernization of the State, tourism, small- and medium-sized enterprises, security and the environment.”

Chile’s head of state also took the opportunity to recognize the role of all the businesses and individuals across the member states whose work and open minds allowed the latest agreement to come to fruition.

“[I would like to thank the] civil society and the private sector in each of our countries for the role they have played in this Alliance from the outset,” Piñera said. “Governments can create the conditions, but it is the people, civil society organizations and businesses who must take advantage of the opportunities that the Alliance is opening up for our countries.”

Meanwhile, the other leaders present took the time to thank Piñera, for whom this recent Pacific Alliance summit will be his last as he leaves office in March, for his crucial role in the organization’s achievements.

“ [Piñera] has been a motor, a motor that has driven this process like few others, and I want to thank him because it is as a result of his dynamism and his enthusiasm that we have advanced so quickly,” said Colombian President and the summit’s host, Juan Manuel Santos. “He leaves us at a good juncture and we hope to continue advancing. I believe that after two and a half years, you, and indeed all of us, can feel very satisfied and pleased with what we have achieved.”