Latin America has a number of different trade blocs and multilateral organizations. Why is the Pacific Alliance special?

Interview with the Ambassador of Chile to Finlandia Mr. Eduardo Gálvez on 21.3.2017

One of the main differences is that the Pacific Alliance is not only the most outward-looking bloc in the region but it also goes far beyond trade as well. With its eyes on Asia, the Pacific Alliance seeks to function externally as a unified force promoting free trade with other countries and group of countries as well as deepening integration within the AP countries.

Another difference is the commercial and regulatory makeup of the bloc itself. Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru all rank within the World Bank’s top 60 countries for ease of doing business and furthermore, the bloc has liberalized 92% of internal trade, with an agreement this year to bring that number to 100 which means there is a huge potential for trading within the region.

On a country-by-country basis what impact do you expect the alliance to have on the individual economies of the participating nations? For example, for Chile?

For Chile, the ultimate goal is to achieve competitiveness and sustained and inclusive economic growth with an economy open to the world, including through increased intraregional and extra-regional trade. This view is consistent with Chile’s policy of more than 20 years of becoming a trade hub towards Asia-Pacific, as well as a bridge between the Pacific and Atlantic markets given its geographical position.

As a region, during its first four years, the Pacific Alliance has made important achievements and has established itself as a stable, dynamic and innovative regional integration mechanism. As an example, while other economies in the region GDP grew an average of 1,8% in 2015, the Pacific Alliance countries grew an average of almost 3% during the same period.

What impact do you expect the alliance to have on Finland and Finnish companies?

The Pacific Alliance seminar comes at a crucial time. While a large number of growing markets are uneasy and volatile, and under the shadow of protectionist tendencies the countries of the Pacific Alliance stand out as a group of economies that are advancing with deep integration among themselves and at the same time promoting openness and free trade with other regions, including the European Union and certainly in the Asia Pacific region. This is a strong political message in favor of free trade as and engine for growth.

The seminar focuses on key sectors where private investors can take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Alliance. These strategic sectors are: education, health, mining, oil and gas, value added manufacturing, electricity and renewable energies, financial services and digital connectivity and together they account for more than 50% of the GDP of the pacific Alliance.

There are definitely plenty of opportunities for Finnish companies in the Pacific Alliance markets so come and join us, we will have a seminar on the Pacific Alliance in Helsinki on April 19! Please, join us and learn more.

How do you see the future of possible Mercosur-Pacific Alliance cooperation?

Geographically, the Pacific Alliance is a privileged bloc. The nucleus of the world trade is shifting from the Atlantic to the Pacific and this fact is boosting and intensifying a gradual convergence between the Pacific Alliance and Mercosur. The recent changes in the Brazilian and Argentine political scenes are indicative that this convergence between the two blocs may indeed become a reality in the future and certainly, there is a political will to advance quickly with practical measures to facilitate trade and integration.

Do you want to know more about the Latin American countries?

Finnish-Latin American Trade Association promotes trade and other commercial relations between Finland and Latin American countries. The target is to get more Finnish companies interested in the vast business opportunities the Latin American countries offer.

www.kauppayhdistys.fi