Envoys from countries belonging to the Pacific Alliance, a Latin American trade bloc, pitched to some 150 Korean executives and entrepreneurs from manufacturing, energy and mining sectors on investment opportunities during a day-long seminar in Seoul on Thursday.
Heads of diplomatic missions and commercial chiefs from Peru, Colombia, Mexico and Chile took turns proffering the advantages of investing in their countries, members of the Pacific Alliance, a new trade bloc that is fast becoming an important regional grouping in Latin America.
The Pacific Alliance has emerged as one of the leading economic projects in Latin America. It aims to succeed where others have failed by focusing on making Latin America a gateway to Asian markets and building a Pacific-rim trade deal.
|Peruvian Ambassador to South Korea Jaime Pomareda addresses an audience of Korean executives and entrepreneurs during a day-long seminar on investment in Latin America in Seoul on Thursday. (Philip Iglauer/The Korea Herald)|
Envoys made a point of presenting a united front.
As a cavalcade of diplomats took to the dais, they talked in terms of broad economic sectors and region-wide investment benefits, referring to the four countries as a single unit and conspicuously eschewing country-specific issues.
“Regarding the manufacturing sector, all four countries of the (Pacific Alliance) excel in the production of different goods such as automotive and auto parts, renewable ancillary industry, agro-food and textile apparel,” said Peruvian Ambassador to South Korea Jaime Pomareda.
Pacific Alliance countries are also streamlining diplomatic efforts, opening joint diplomatic missions in Ghana, Algeria, Morocco and Vietnam, as well as combining their participation in international trade affairs.
In the two-year life of the Pacific Alliance, member countries have already eliminated tariffs on all goods traded between them.
South Korea obtained observer status in the Pacific Alliance during talks on the sidelines of a foreign ministers’ summit of the Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation in Indonesia in July.
South Korea has also secured FTAs with three of the four founding members: Chile in 2004, Peru in 2011 and Colombia in 2012.
Now East Asia’s third-largest economy is angling to restart negotiations for a free trade agreement with Mexico “as soon as possible,” said Jang Myung-soo, director general of the division covering Latin American and Caribbean Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
By Philip Iglauer (firstname.lastname@example.org