Roundup: Colombia, Peru, Chile, Mexico mark 10th anniversary of Pacific Alliance

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BOGOTA, April 30 (Xinhua) -- Members of the Pacific Alliance on Friday commemorated the 10th anniversary of the trade bloc founded by Colombia, Peru, Chile and Mexico -- all Pacific coast countries, highlighting regional integration.

Colombian President Ivan Duque, who holds the rotating presidency of the bloc, hosted his counterparts from Peru, Francisco Sagasti, and Chile, Sebastian Pinera, as well as Mexican Economy Minister Tatiana Clouthier, via a video conference from Bogota.

Duque presented a plan for the bloc's proposed Regional Digital Market, which aims to boost the exchange of goods and services between member countries.

"Over the next 10 years, we hope that a roadmap will emerge, where markets are more integrated, trade grows, investment becomes more dynamic and, above all, the free movement of people takes place," said Duque.

"To the extent that we facilitate companies in our member countries to issue debt and bonds in the respective markets, we not only diversify their diversification instruments, but also generate a regulatory culture and good corporate governance," Duque added.

With the anniversary of the bloc taking place amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Duque proposed "that we seek shared solutions to the production, packaging and commercialization of vaccines and that we can seek spaces for co-investment for that purpose, since this pandemic is going to last much longer than we all anticipated."

Calling the past 10 years "very fruitful," Pinera said that member countries have increased their exports and therefore reduced poverty.

After the Pacific Alliance was created, several countries expressed an interest in becoming associate members or observers, the Chilean president recalled.

"Ten years later ... we have more than 50 observer countries and some of them (are about) to become associate members. The outcome of 10 years has been a good outcome," he said.

Meanwhile, Peru's Sagasti said it was necessary to "consolidate" the Pacific Alliance as the "principal multidimensional integration platform in Latin America ... by leaning on soon-to-be partner states and actively capitalizing on our relationship with ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation)."

Mexico "considers regional integration" as a priority, Clouthier said, adding "the construction of inclusive and just societies that tackle inequality should be a common goal for our region and for the Pacific Alliance."

"Let us celebrate the 10 years of this alliance as a mechanism of deep integration that serves as a tool to close the gaps," said the Mexican minister. Enditem

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