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Colombia takes helm of Pacific Alliance

Colombia’s top envoy to Korea celebrated on July 17 the country’s new presidency of the Pacific Alliance -- an economic integration project in Latin America -- with a keen eye on the Asia-Pacific economies.

Colombian Ambassador Tito Saul Pinilla was joined by Chilean Ambassador Fernando Danus, Mexican Ambassador Bruno Figueroa and Peruvian Ambassador Jaime Pomareda at the event at the embassy in Seoul.

The alliance aims to spur free movement of goods, services, capital and people across its four member states, and has sought to strengthen ties with the Asia-Pacific region. South Korea is one of its 52 observer states. 

From left: Chilean Ambassador Fernando Danus, Colombian Ambassador Tito Saul Pinilla, Mexican Ambassador Bruno Figueroa and Peruvian Ambassador Jaime Pomareda (Colombian Embassy)
From left: Chilean Ambassador Fernando Danus, Colombian Ambassador Tito Saul Pinilla, Mexican Ambassador Bruno Figueroa and Peruvian Ambassador Jaime Pomareda (Colombian Embassy)

In addition to reducing trade barriers, the Pacific Alliance has begun several other projects for regional integration, including visa-free tourist travel, a common stock exchange and joint embassies in several countries. The group removed 92 percent of tariffs on goods traded between its members in May last year, and targets eliminating the rest by 2020.

Colombia assumed the annually rotating “pro tempore presidency” from Chile during the seventh summit in Cali, Colombia, on June 30, during which the four countries’ presidents lauded the entry into force of the framework agreement on July 20 and its trade protocol on May 1 designed to create a free trade zone.

The leaders also highlighted the increased number of observer states to 52, alongside advances made in their preliminary framework for cooperating with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the holding of an informal dialogue with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. The presidents announced incorporating Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore as associated states for a new free trade agreement, whose negotiations will begin in September.

By Joel Lee (joel@heraldcorp.com)
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