What's next for the Pacific Alliance? The presidents of Chile and Colombia shared their perspectives along with the minister of foreign commerce and tourism of Peru and Mexico's secretary of foreign affairs at a panel on September 20 during UN General Assembly week in New York. Attracting more foreign direct investment is a priority, said President Michelle Bachelet, as investment flows to Latin America are down since 2011. Even still, the bloc's four countries are the ones recording the most economic growth in the region, indicating their "huge potential," added Colombia's Juan Manuel Santos.
The Pacific Alliance represents 39 percent of the region's GDP and 54 percent of its global trade. Now, it's time to look outside the bloc, said Mexico's Foreign Affairs Secretary Luis Videgaray. In June, the Pacific Alliance approved the first group of associate member countries with which the bloc will begin negotiating a free-trade agreement: Autralia, Canada, New Zeland, and Singapore. There was so much interest, "It was practically a beauty contest," said Videgaray.