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What is the Pacific Alliance?

by | Jul 22, 2023

The Pacific Alliance comprises Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. It is a mechanism for economic and trade integration based on four pillars: free movement of goods, services, capital, and people. It is an innovative, flexible integration strategy with clear, pragmatic goals consistent with member companies’ development models and foreign policies.

The Pacific Alliance (PA) was established in April 2011 by Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru through the Framework Agreement, which entered into force in July 2015, and its commercial protocol, which entered into force on May 1, 2016.

What are the goals of the Pacific Alliance?

The Pacific Alliance seeks to build, in a participatory and consensual manner, an area of deep integration to move progressively toward the free movement of goods, services, capital, and people.

It exists to promote more significant growth, development, and competitiveness of the economies of the participating parties, intending to achieve greater well-being, overcoming socioeconomic inequality, and the social inclusion of its inhabitants.

It seeks to become a platform for political articulation, economic and commercial integration, and projection to the world, with particular emphasis on the Asia Pacific region.

Who participates in the Pacific Alliance?

Member Countries (4): Colombia, Chile, Mexico, and Peru.

Observer States (61):

America (14): Argentina, Canada, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, the United States, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay.

Africa (2): Egypt and Morocco.

Asia (12): China, Korea (South), the United Arab Emirates, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

Oceania (2): Australia and New Zealand

Europe (31): Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Croatia, Denmark, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Romania, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and Ukraine.

Associated States (1): On January 26, 2022, within the framework of the XVI Summit of the Pacific Alliance, the FTA between Singapore and the Pacific Alliance was signed. When entered into force, this will make Singapore the first Associated State of the Alliance.

The Pacific Alliance is negotiating with three other Observer States that are candidates for Associated State status. These countries are Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

The next candidate with whom negotiations will begin to become an Associated State is South Korea. Ecuador requested to start negotiations to acquire this same category, but its entry could occur in the category of Member Country.

How does it work?

In the Pacific Alliance, there are different decision-making bodies whose decisions are always made by consensus.

Summits bring together the presidents of the Member States. It is the highest decision-making body of the Pacific Alliance, in which the progress of the mechanism is evaluated, and instructions are given on its future work.

The Council of Ministers brings together the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Ministers of Foreign Trade of the Member States to verify compliance with the Presidential Mandates. The Council defines the political guidelines of the Pacific Alliance in its relationship with third States or integration schemes, establishes the working groups that it deems appropriate to achieve the objectives, and carries out the actions of the Alliance, among others.

The High-Level Group (GAN) brings together the Vice Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Vice Ministers of Foreign Trade. It carries out periodic and detailed monitoring of compliance with the Alliance’s commitments, as well as the work of the Technical Groups.

National Coordinators bring together the national coordinators of the Alliance countries. The functions of this group are the same as those of the GAN, but its monitoring tasks are carried out permanently. The National Coordinators are in charge of consolidating a work agenda with the observer States, third States, and other regional forums, emphasizing Asia-Pacific.

Technical instances: the Pacific Alliance has thirty technical instances in charge of executing the different presidential mandates in matters within their respective competencies, often in coordination with other instances. The Cooperation Council is in charge of monitoring cooperation with the Observer States.

Presidency Pro Tempore (PPT): The PPT of the Pacific Alliance rotates annually in alphabetical order. Mexico has exercised the PPT since the XVI Summit, which took place on January 26, 2022, in Bahía Málaga-Buenaventura, Colombia. Subsequently, the PPT was delivered to Peru at the beginning of 2023, within the framework of the XVII Summit of the mechanism.

Why is the Pacific Alliance important?

  • The Alliance, as a process of deep integration, has set itself challenging goals, which have been fulfilled based on the Mandates issued by the heads of State. 
  • The Pacific Alliance is one of the most innovative integration strategies in the region, as it is an open and flexible process with clear, pragmatic goals consistent with the development models of the participating nations.
  • In only 11 years of existence, the Pacific Alliance has achieved significant results in all the process objectives, advancing progressively towards the free circulation of goods, capital services, and people, making it an international benchmark in terms of integration. The Pacific Alliance is consolidated as the eighth largest economy in the world, with a population close to 230 million inhabitants, attracting nearly fifty-six million tourists each year and 38% of the FDI that reaches Latin America. Additionally, it represents approximately 40% of the region’s GDP, which, on the one hand, makes it an attractive market for global trade, and, on the other, it strengthens its capacity for international insertion.

Main Achievements of the Pacific Alliance

  • Eight shared Embassy locations (Algeria, Vietnam, Azerbaijan, Ghana, Hungary, Ireland, Morocco, and Singapore).
  • Carrying out significant joint activities for trade, investment, and tourism promotion.
  • Integration of the stock markets in the Latin American Integrated Market (MILA), constituting the financial arm of the Alliance.
  • The Business Council of the Pacific Alliance (CEAP) has been an important initiative of the private sector to give recommendations to governments to build a useful work agenda for business facilitation.
  • Two thousand eight hundred thirteen students from four countries have benefited through the Academic and Student Mobility Platform.
  • Elimination of tourist and business visas between the four countries.
  • The signing of an Inter-institutional Agreement for a Vacation and Work Program promotes cultural exchange between the young people of the Pacific Alliance countries.
  • Subscription of a Consular Assistance Agreement allows nationals of the four countries to receive consular assistance in states without diplomatic or consular representation of their country of origin.
  • Short-stay visa exemption for foreigners residing in member countries of the Pacific Alliance.
  • Subscription of 9 Joint Declarations with the Observer States, regional integration blocks, and international organizations to strengthen relations and specify cooperation activities on issues of mutual interest: Canada, Spain, Japan, Singapore, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), Mercosur, European Union, and OECD.
  • Strategic Vision of the Pacific Alliance for the year 2030, which focuses on four axes to achieve an Alliance: more integrated, more global, more connected, and more citizen, with ambitious and achievable goals in line with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations Organization.
  • Presidential declarations on Gender and Women’s Empowerment, Sustainable Management of Plastics, Regional Digital Market, and Creative Economy seek to implement concrete actions that strengthen and give special impetus to these issues in the Pacific Alliance.
  • The Declaration of Bahía Málaga-Buenaventura includes the new mandates for the Technical Instances that make up the mechanism and are part of the road map or work plan of Mexico as Pro Tempore Presidency of the Alliance during the period 2022-2023.
  • An FTA was signed with Singapore, which, once it enters into force, will make this country the first Associated States of the Pacific Alliance.
  • Negotiations are ongoing with Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, aimed at accessing the category of Associated States, and the start of the talks with Korea was announced.

The last Pacific Alliance Summit

The XVI Summit of the Pacific Alliance took place in Bahía Málaga-Buenaventura, Colombia, on January 26, 2022.

On January 26, the XVI (sixteenth) Summit of the Pacific Alliance was held in Bahía Málaga – Buenaventura. The Presidential Declaration and a Declaration for Strengthening the Creative Economy (Orange Economy) were signed at this Summit. Likewise, the Implementation Plans of the Roadmap of the Declaration on the Sustainable Management of Plastics and Gender Equality were approved. These initiatives contain concrete actions to strengthen these issues in the region. Regarding trade, the FTA was signed with Singapore, and the commitment to start negotiations with Ecuador for its entry as a Member country and Korea for its entry as an Associated State was established. Similarly, the Regulatory Cooperation Annexes on household cleaning products and medical devices were adopted. These accords will facilitate their commercialization in the four countries.

Recent treaties and/or declarations

  • Declaration of Bahía Málaga-Buenaventura, December 26, 2022.
  • Presidential Declaration for the Strengthening of the Creative Economy.
  • Joint Declaration between the Pacific Alliance and Singapore.
  • Free Trade Agreement between Singapore and the Pacific Alliance.

The Pacific Alliance is a regional integration initiative in Latin America that promotes economic and political cooperation among its member countries. It was established on April 28, 2011, and its founding members are Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. Since its inception, the Alliance has become a significant regional economic and trade bloc. Overall, the Pacific Alliance is an essential initiative in Latin America, fostering economic development, cooperation, and integration among its member countries while promoting their interests on the global stage.

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