A Conversation with the Pacific Alliance

Trade bloc leaders discussed the future of work and free trade among member countries.


  • Iván Duque Márquez, President of Colombia (introduction)
  • Marta Lucía Ramírez, Vice President and Foreign Relations Minister of Colombia
  • Andrés Allamand, Foreign Relations Minister of Chile
  • Pedro Francke, Economy and Finance Minister of Peru
  • María Ximena Lombana, Commerce, Industry, and Tourism Minister of Colombia
  • Luz María de la Mora, Undersecretary for Foreign Trade of Mexico
  • Susan Segal, President and CEO, AS/COA (moderator)
  • Carlos Ignacio Gallego, President, Grupo Nutresa, and President Pro Tempore of the Pacific Alliance Business Council (closing remarks)

It's been “a challenge and an honor” to helm the Pacific Alliance as president pro tempore during such a complex moment, said Colombian President Iván Duque in a pre-recorded message to open the annual AS/COA event on the Pacific Alliance on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. Duque highlighted the conclusion of negotiations for a free trade agreement between the bloc and Singapore in July.

The alliance serves as a pragmatic, open, and flexible mechanism, said Marta Lucía Ramírez, the Colombian vice president and foreign minister, especially for tackling global problems like climate change. She spoke of the efforts Colombia and the Pacific Alliance are taking to develop sustainable practices, which are both good for the planet and for business. "It is clear that one fundamental element for competitiveness and for access to markets is to have green industries and zero emissions," she said.

One key factor to economic recovery the panel agreed upon is gender inclusion—not just for women’s benefit but for everyone’s. Responding to a question from moderator Susan Segal, the Chilean foreign minister Andrés Allamand said, “When women assume leadership and expert roles, this in some way has an influence in all [economic] activity.”

The Pacific Alliance can help small businesses by expanding their reach through free trade, ensuring there are no additional import costs, and guaranteeing that business can flow seamlessly from one country to another, said Pedro Francke, the economy minister of Peru, where the majority of people work for a small or medium-sized business. “This is the sector that we need to support the most,” he said. He also was bullish about the new Castillo administration’s participation in the bloc. “We see a lot of potential in the future,” he said.

Clarity, certainty, and forseeability about the rules of the game. That's what the trade bloc offers international and regional businesses, said Luz María de la Mora, Mexico's undersecretary for foreign trade. The alliance also provides benefits and advantages to restructuring value chains.

The event was the fourth installation of the AS/COA series, which debuted in 2017. “This space, through the participation of the private sector…has been fundamental for advancement,” said the Colombian commerce, industry, and tourism minister, María Ximena Lombana.