‘Pacific Alliance at 10’ – India seeks more engagement with the member countries

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July 23, 2021 4:32 PM

“The Alliance reinforces our already valued partnership with the member countries. Our shared interests, complementarity of economies and expected benefits make it imperative that India and the PA continue to build partnerships,” said (Mrs) Gloria Gangte, Joint Secretary, LAC Division, Ministry of External Affairs.

More companies are expected to enter and are from energy, mining, IT, BPOs, software, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing.

To achieve a target of USD 30 billion over the next few years, India is exploring new opportunities in the Pacific Alliance (PA) countries (Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Peru). For India, the Pacific Alliance member countries have become a regular source of crude oil, copper and gold imports.

“The Alliance reinforces our already valued partnership with the member countries. Our shared interests, complementarity of economies and expected benefits make it imperative that India and the PA continue to build partnerships,” said (Mrs) Gloria Gangte, Joint Secretary, LAC Division, Ministry of External Affairs.

“There is a great potential of the Pacific Alliance in the development of more South-South cooperation schemes,” the MEA official said in her virtual address.

She was speaking on “Pacific Alliance @10’’, jointly organised by the Embassy of Colombia which is holding the Pro Tempore Presidency of Pacific Alliance in collaboration with Ananta Aspen Centre.

Reiterating that India, as an Observer country, is committed to engage more constructively at multiple levels with the member countries, Mrs Gangte, said “India has also offered to collaborate on digital tools for publishing, scholarships for Masters Programme in Cultural Management, scientific and technical cooperation on climate change and fisheries and aquaculture.”

More institutional development and clear rules in the PA will lead to an increase in investment and employment, which will ensure equal opportunities and reduce poverty.

“Even during the pandemic, the Alliance members collaborated to tackle the challenges and highlighted the importance of e-commerce and relevance of Small and Medium Enterprises,” Mrs Gangte added.

She also highlighted some steps taken by the alliance like: Eliminating tariffs among the four member states, and continuing to liberalise services and investment markets; Facilitating the flow of people and talent across borders, by removing short-term and business visa requirements; and Establishing an integrated stock exchange — Mercado Integrado Latino Americano (MILA), the largest stock exchanges in Latin America. Also, institutionalisation of cooperation through the ‘Cooperation Forum’ for engagement with Observer States, focus on 2030 Agenda and its SDGs, creation of Cooperation Fund etc.

“The Pacific Alliance is a member of the Indo-Pacific family. And, if we put in the centre of the map the Pacific Ocean, we could see Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Peru as closer relatives of India on the eastern shore of the Pacific Ocean,” reiterated the new ambassador of Colombia to India, Mrs Mariana Pacheco Montes.

According to the Colombian envoy, “India’s trade with the Pacific Alliance, which accounts for 40 per cent of its trade with Latin America, has been growing rapidly before the pandemic, and now has the potential to reach USD30 billion in the coming years.”

“In Latin America and the Caribbean the block of countries represents 38 per cent of the GDP, 50 per cent of the total trade and attracts 45 per cent of the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). The combined population of the four member countries is 225 million persons and have an average per capita GDP of USD 18 000,” Mrs Montes said.

According to Juan Angulo, ambassador of Chile to India, “The Alliance has been a key mechanism to enhance the free movement of goods, services, capital and people between our countries. During the years the Alliance has maintained its founding vocation, which is to deepen the integration among its members. Integration not only in the transaction of goods but also facilitating the movements of capital and investments, people and culture and also services, either in financial matters, in consulting, insurances, etc. We need to continue and deepen those policies. Even if we have done a lot, one of our challenges is to increase intra Alliance commerce. Currently 92 percent of all tariff lines are duty free and the goal is to reach 100 percent of goods by 2030.”

“We have also boosted the Digital Agenda of the Alliance, with the participation of the private sector and the academy. The objective is to identify private sector needs and demands on professionals and technicians to adequate the studies and availability offered to companies,” the envoy of Chile stated.

“We have also advanced in the elimination of barriers to electronic commerce, something of special interest in the current pandemic situation,” he added.

“Environment is one area of high importance for the Pacific Alliance. And work is going on and to also bring together the efforts of the private sector and governments, prioritizes sustainability, orients its efforts towards green growth and strengthens the environmental policies of each one of the member countries,” the Chilean ambassador said.

According to him, “The Declaration on the Sustainable Management of Plastics signed in 2019 by members will implement new policies to promote the integral management of this waste and reduce its presence in ecosystems. And, also considerations for fostering the circular economy, the blue economy and the prevention of micro plastics in marine, rivers and lakes environments”.

“PA challenge is to become an effective tool for social and economic recovery after the pandemic. For such recovery, Mexico actively supports initiatives regarding women empowerment, a regional digital market, promotion of innovation and entrepreneurship, tourism revitalization, promotion of employability, education and training,” said Ambassador of Mexico to India Federico Salas Lotfe.

Adding, “Mexico has its own program to improve employability for youngsters through grants for apprentices. So far more than 260,000 young people have been enrolled, 59 per cent of them are women”.

In his address the Mexican envoy highlighted the use of e-commerce “to grow our trade will allow more MSEs to access our regional market and face the current restrictions such as lockdown and social distancing”.

India & Pacific Alliance

Pacific Alliance has marked a momentous milestone in the regional integration process that began in Lima, back in 2011 and remains a champion of free and open trade.

India joined the Pacific Alliance as an Observer member in February 2014, and since has proposed a few areas for Technical Cooperation in the field of Science & Technology, Small and Medium Enterprises sector, IT and e-Governance. Due to the ongoing global crisis because of COVID-19, the overall trade with the four member countries touched USD 12 bn in 2020-21. However it was down compared to USD 14.08 bn in 2019-20 and 17 bn in 2018-19.

Indian Companies present in the PA countries

There are more than 30 Indian companies who have invested in the four countries. More companies are expected to enter and are from energy, mining, IT, BPOs, software, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing.

More about Pacific Alliance

Recent inclusion of 4 Associate Members (Australia, Canada, Singapore and New Zealand) along with a network of 59 ‘Observer States’ spanning across 5 continents consolidates the emerging international outreach of the Pacific Alliance.

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