India – Pacific Alliance has been one of the most significant regional groupings in the Latin America and the Caribbean. It has witnessed significant progress over the past few years. This truly justifies the commemoration of one of the most momentous and powerful regional groupings of Latin America and the Caribbean, which although overall consists of 33 nations, out of which the four nations of Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Peru decided over a decade ago to congregate and take a step towards engaging in a more practical and pragmatic integration. Hence, The Pacific Alliance is an initiative of regional integration comprised of these four latter countries, who together represent the eighth largest economy and the eighth export force worldwide. In the light of the emerging significance of this grouping, Ananta Centre held a digital session on “The Pacific Alliance at 10” with Mrs. Gloria Gangte, Joint Secretary, Latin American & Caribbean, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, H.E. Mariana Pacheco Montes, Ambassador of Colombia to India, President Pro-Tempore Pacific Alliance, H.E. Juan Angulo M., Ambassador of Chile to India, H.E. Federico Salas Lotfe, Ambassador of Mexico to India, and H.E. Cartos Rafael Polo Castaneda, Ambassador of Peru to India chaired by Ambassador Deepak Bhojwani, Former Ambassador of India to Colombia, Venezuela and Cuba and Distinguished Fellow, Ananta Centre.
ln the past ten years, these four nations have adopted key measures to promote regional integration, including significant advances in the liberalization of trade in goods, eliminating 97% of tariffs; the creation of a joint platform for stock markets; the launch of joint diplomatic and trade undertakings in Asia Pacific; the allowance of unrestricted movement of people among the four countries, as well as numerous social achievements, such as the Alliance scholarship programme.
The Free Trade Agreements with all the four nations: Chile, Columbia, Mexico and Peru strengthens India’s ties with them and promotes economic cooperation, which is aimed at promoting the expansion of trade and providing the conditions and mechanisms for the negotiation of more free trade agreements. India’s trade with the grouping has been growing, and as an observer member of the bloc, there is still scope for a much deeper engagement.
The alliance assumes greater significance in these times when uncertainties and challenges arising from the Covid-19 pandemic has brought the global economy at crossroads. Even during these difficult times, the alliance has remained intact and continues to play an important role in generating 60% of the trade in the region internally and with the rest of the world. Moreover, amidst this challenges the Alliance performed remarkably in indices of human development competitiveness.
The Pacific Alliance managed to create a joint work plan to reduce the overall impact of the pandemic on the economies of the four nations. There were also some initiatives taken through joint promotion actions to act as a catalyst in the economic re-activation of the bloc in numerous fields such as, E-commerce, public procurement trading services for indirect investment, entrepreneurship and innovation, tourism trade, and investment to set up a roadmap for the digital market. The advancement in innovation and entrepreneurship, tourism revitalization, the promotion of employability, education and training and using e-commerce to grow trade are further measures taken that will ultimately allow the medium and small sized enterprises to access the regional digital markets.
Furthermore, the alliance is a great platform for academic and student mobility, for instance, the last call was for 400 scholarships to pursue exchange programs in the pacific alliance countries. Moreover, with the purpose of enhancing mobility of people, the alliance is working on evaluation and certification of labor competencies, hoping that all of these measures will help both India and the member countries attain sustainable societies and more prosperous economies.
The Democratic value of the Pacific Alliance is also a crucial component which helps enhance and foster the relationship with India. The principles of free and open trade remains one of the anchoring foundations between the two. The South-South cooperation process for which the basic principle is to reach out to each other with utmost solidarity and peace, continues to bind India and Pacific Alliance countries together. The Pacific Alliance is a unique integration initiative as it operates without central budget and headquarters. Thus, new avenues of future cooperation are seen in the field of Science and Technology, Small and Medium Enterprise sector, IT and e-governance, cultural management, scientific and technical cooperation on climate change, fisheries and aquaculture, renewable energy, pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, and financial services software. Therefore, both India and the Pacific Alliance agree to strengthen their cooperation with an aim to evolve sustainable and inclusive development for all to bring more equality in the global society
This digital session was a part of a series on “Ambassador Series”
Please watch the full session on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JueNT968PCk