The presidents of the member nations of the Pacific Alliance on Monday here signed an Additional Protocol to liberalize the exchange of goods, services and investments within the bloc.
The agreement was signed by the presidents of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos; Chile, Sebastian Piñera; Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto; and Peru, Ollanta Humala at the closing ceremony of the 8th Pacific Alliance Summit.
The accord, which was called “historic” by Peña Nieto, eliminates tariffs on 92 percent of the goods and services exchanged among the four member states.
The remaining 8 percent, including “sensitive” agricultural products, will be the subject of additional talks in which sugar will not be included at the request of some of the members.
The protocol signed Monday is the first addition to the June 6, 2012, Framework Agreement that launched the Pacific Alliance at the summit in Cerro Paranal, Chile.
“This is the most innovative integration mechanism that Mexico has signed in recent years,” said Peña Nieto, adding that the countries making up the Alliance are preparing to create “a more productive and more competitive region.”
Piñera, meanwhile, said that the accord shows that the Alliance “has born fruit that benefits the quality of life of our peoples.”
He said that the Alliance “has been successful, a community of principles” in which “the worth of freedom, of democracy, of the state of law ... (along with) innovation and entrepreneurship” have special weight.
“This is an unprecedented step that is being taken in the region and which has awakened the interest and curiosity of the international community. Therefore, there is a very significant number of countries who are accredited as observers and others who are requesting to join,” said Humala.
The host of the gathering, Santos, said that the protocol signed on Monday “translates ... into more investment, more competitiveness and ... more jobs, good quality jobs.”