The Pacific Alliance: Regional Integration or Fragmentation?

10-01-2014

The year 2013 brought much attention to the Pacific Alliance (Alianza del Pacífico), the most recent regional integration initiative in Latin America. Building on the existing free trade agreements between them, the four members of the Alliance - Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru - have set the goal of advancing towards the free movement of goods, services, capitals and people, with the objective of creating an 'area of deep integration' to stimulate economic growth and competitiveness. Since it was formally constituted in June 2012, the Pacific Alliance has come to be seen as the most promising and dynamic regional group in Latin America. Adopting a freemarket approach to regional integration, it is widely perceived as an alternative to the 'stagnating' and 'increasingly protectionist' Mercosur bloc. In this regard, the Pacific Alliance has led to hopes for a new momentum for regional integration and cooperation in Latin America, as well as to concerns about a possible fracture in the region. The EU, which has long-standing institutionalised links, liberalised trade and good relations with the members of the Pacific Alliance, has welcomed the Alliance as a promising initiative. The evolution of the Alliance could have direct or indirect consequences for the EU's relations with other regional blocs in Latin America.

The year 2013 brought much attention to the Pacific Alliance (Alianza del Pacífico), the most recent regional integration initiative in Latin America. Building on the existing free trade agreements between them, the four members of the Alliance - Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru - have set the goal of advancing towards the free movement of goods, services, capitals and people, with the objective of creating an 'area of deep integration' to stimulate economic growth and competitiveness. Since it was formally constituted in June 2012, the Pacific Alliance has come to be seen as the most promising and dynamic regional group in Latin America. Adopting a freemarket approach to regional integration, it is widely perceived as an alternative to the 'stagnating' and 'increasingly protectionist' Mercosur bloc. In this regard, the Pacific Alliance has led to hopes for a new momentum for regional integration and cooperation in Latin America, as well as to concerns about a possible fracture in the region. The EU, which has long-standing institutionalised links, liberalised trade and good relations with the members of the Pacific Alliance, has welcomed the Alliance as a promising initiative. The evolution of the Alliance could have direct or indirect consequences for the EU's relations with other regional blocs in Latin America.