VIÑA DEL MAR, Chile – The Pacific Alliance’s meeting started on Tuesday in Viña del Mar with host Chile holding bilateral talks with Mexico and New Zealand as the regional organization’s members discuss the future direction of trade in the wake of the collapse of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
“This meeting is an important political signal at a time of uncertainty,” Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz said ahead of the start of the meeting.
Chile, which holds the alliance’s rotating presidency, organized the gathering to discuss the situation created by the US decision to drop out of the TPP, an effort to create a free trade area spanning the Asia-Pacific region.
The two-day meeting will be attended by the foreign and trade ministers of Australia, Brunei, Colombia, Canada, China, South Korea, the United States, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam, as well as host Chile.
The United States, which did not send a delegation from Washington, is being represented by Ambassador to Chile Carol Perez.
The participants will “explore and exchange ideas on how to move forward with open trade that rejects protectionism, creating prosperity and jobs via more intense and open trade,” Muñoz said.
The ministers from the Pacific Alliance, whose members are Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile, will be attending a dinner on Tuesday hosted by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.
Ministers from the 12 countries that signed the TPP in early 2016 plan to meet on Wednesday to examine the trade landscape following President Donald Trump’s decision to fulfill a campaign promise and pull the US out of the trade deal.
The TPP’s members account for about 40 percent of global economic activity and nearly one-third of international trade.