PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico – Presidents of the Pacific Alliance and Mercosur countries, Latin America’s two most important trade blocs, signed on Tuesday a joint statement and an action plan to promote free trade and regional integration.
“The Puerto Vallarta action plan establishes concrete measures to facilitate the trading of assets, promote the globalization of small and medium-sized companies, and the growth of the knowledge economy,” Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said in his capacity as rotating chair of the Pacific Alliance, whose other members are Chile, Colombia and Peru.
For his part, Uruguay’s Tabare Vazquez, president pro tem of Mercosur (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay), said in the joint statement that integration is not “a magic wand for solving problems” but will assure progress in improving Latin Americans’ standard of living.
The gathering in Puerto Vallarta was particularly relevant because it meant the first meeting of the heads of state of these two blocs, which together represent around 90 percent of Latin America’s GNP.
Present along with Peña Nieto and Vazquez were the presidents of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos; Chile, Sebastian Piñera; Peru, Martin Vizcarra; and Brazil, Michel Temer.
Argentina and Paraguay were represented by their respective deputy foreign ministers, Daniel Raimondi and Federico Gonzalez.