“The Pacific Alliance is an exceptional example of public-private association and integration. It has achieved great harmony, pragmatism and agility among the stakeholders involved and continuity over time,” emphasized Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), during the 3rd Pacific Alliance Business Summit held today in the framework of the trade bloc’s XI Presidential Summit in the city of Puerto Varas in southern Chile.
The senior UN official called for the mechanism’s member countries—Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru—to generate ecosystems of innovation domestically, with particular emphasis on the digital economy, and to explore new productive sectors that promote environmental sustainability, such as renewable energies, circular economies and recycling.
The objective, she said, is for “the Pacific Alliance to become a huge platform for productive and financial integration, with social inclusion and environmental sustainability.”
At the business event attended by more than 700 senior executives, Bárcena moderated a panel devoted to analyzing the relevance of public-private alliances. Four presidents of the Pacific Alliance Business Council participated in the session: Alberto Salas, Chile; David Bojanini, Colombia; Valentín Díez, Mexico; and Juan Varilias, Peru. They discussed issues such as productivity and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); financial integration and pension fund administrators; telecommunications; and value chains and trade facilitation, among other topics.
Bárcena pointed out that, for instance, while SMEs constitute 90% of the region’s businesses and generate 67% of jobs, they have major productivity problems. Average productivity for the region is a fifth of the United States, she said.
The Executive Secretary was then invited to present to the Council of Ministers the study Opportunities for cooperation among Pacific Alliance member countries for international trade of fishing products, which ECLAC is currently carrying out.
On Friday, Bárcena will share the conclusions of this study with the heads of state attending the event in Puerto Varas: Michelle Bachelet of Chile; Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia; Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico; Ollanta Humala of Peru; Mauricio Macri of Argentina; Luis Guillermo Solís of Costa Rica; and Peru’s President-elect Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.
In addition to possible joint actions on promotion and trade, the document examines other areas for short- and medium-term collaboration, including projects to support artisanal fishing and small-scale aquaculture, the development of industrial brands, and the establishment of safety, traceability and sustainability standards.
During her presentation before the Council of Ministers today, Alicia Bárcena also offered to update the document The Pacific Alliance and MERCOSUR: Towards Convergence in Diversity (Spanish only), prepared by ECLAC in 2014. The proposal was well received by the delegations, who requested an analysis of specific issues related to the fishing sector, such as shared capacities among members of the Pacific Alliance to create value chains and opportunities for greater collaboration with MERCOSUR, among others.
There was also an announcement on the bloc’s creation of a working group on a digital agenda, for which ECLAC’s support was also requested. ECLAC currently serves as the Technical Secretariat of the Digital Agenda for Latin America and the Caribbean (eLAC2018), approved last year in Mexico City during the Fifth Ministerial Conference on the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Pacific Alliance, created on April 28, 2011, is a regional integration initiative formed by Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru that, according to its stated objectives, seeks to benefit its population through the free circulation of goods, services, capital and people. It has 49 observer countries.