Latin American blocs Mercosur and Pacific Alliance meet over trade agreement


Leaders of the top economic powers in Latin America have vowed to accelerate the process of integration and free trade in the region by signing a joint declaration after their heads of state gathered for the 13th Pacific Alliance Summit.

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Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay are all part of the South American trade bloc, Mercosur, while the Pacific Alliance — Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru — are historically closer due to their geopolitical location in the west coast of the continent (Bloomberg).

Uruguay’s President Tabare Vazquez said the Puerto Vallarta summit, held on on July 24, sent a “strong political message” that both blocs were committed to seeking a trade agreement by 2030 (Al Jazeera video).

(From left to right) Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos, Peru's President Martin Alberto Vizcarra, Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto, and Chile's President Sebastian Pinera pose for a picture with the final statement at the 13th Pacific Alliance Summit in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on July 24, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
(From left to right) Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos, Peru’s President Martin Alberto Vizcarra, Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto, and Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera pose for a picture with the final statement at the 13th Pacific Alliance Summit in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on July 24, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

It is also a run-through for top Mexican officials who will renew talks later this week with the Trump administration in Washington to discuss new terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

However, the meeting was hosted by Mexican current leader Enrique Peña Nieto and not President-elect Andrés López Obrador, an anti-establishment leftist and free-trade sceptic who is soon to take office.

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The rest of the region is anxious to see whether López Obrador — the new president of Latin America’s second-largest economy — will stick to his nationalistic guns or govern with the more pragmatic, pro-business tone he showed at the end of the Mexican electoral campaign (Yahoo News /AFP).

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