LATIN AMERICA – In a world steadily becoming multipolar, new initiatives and cooperation schemes among countries are emerging. A relatively recent example is the creation of the Pacific Alliance (Alianza del Pacifico).
This alliance was created in 2011 by four Latin American countries, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. Panama and Costa Rica are expected to join the club soon, while 32 more countries including Britain, China, France, Germany and the US have acquired observer status.
The holder of the rotating presidency of the Pacific Alliance for 2014 is Mexico. In cooperation with the other three Latin American countries, it is actively attempting to promote more applications from states seeking to become observers.
In Greece, for example, where not much is known about Latin America at the public level and its foreign policy is principally directed toward the Mediterranean, the Middle East and the Balkans, various public events on the Pacific Alliance are being organized.
The Pacific Alliance is an economic and cooperative integration mechanism, aiming at fostering growth, development and competitiveness as well as increasing the free movement of goods, capital and people. The combined population of Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru is 214.1 million and the combined GDP equals $2.1 trillion.
The ongoing success of the Pacific Alliance highlights the increased importance of interdependence in the current system of international relations.
Countries becoming observers in the Pacific Alliance, for instance, have the opportunity to automatically expand the free trade agreements that they have already signed with one of the four members to the whole area.
Within this context, they can also better realize the importance of achievements such as the Integrated Latin American Market. This integrated stock markets will be the second largest by market capitalization in Latin America after Bovespa, once Mexico joins.
The Pacific Alliance also provides chances for companies from various export-oriented countries to expand their strategy.
By reaching the large developing market the area represents, they can increase profits and safeguard their sustainability.
By the same token, the Pacific Alliance welcomes investments by foreign countries on sectors such as software and IT services, metals and automotive components.
The Pacific Alliance has underscored the importance of Latin America in world business and politics.
Being a source of raw materials and other manufactured goods and agricultural products, it is continuously offering value-added advantages.
China, for example, is dynamically engaging itself in the region responding to developments and mutual trade interests.
Furthermore, Latin American countries have gradually started to gain a voice in the world arena as respected international actors.
In this vein, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru are attempting to emphasize the attention they pay to democracy and human rights, as well as free trade.
The Pacific Alliance gives the opportunity to many countries to exert foreign policy influence even if they cannot count on high budgets. That is because observers can participate in various political meetings and sideline discussions.
Specifically, smaller countries, as observers in the Pacific Alliance, are now able to enjoy political benefits and improve their diplomatic efficiency.
As long as the economic crisis continues, smart foreign policy may help pave the way for success without significant financial burden. For its part, the Pacific Alliance is prepared to establish offices in foreign countries to forge cooperation networks as it has already done in Turkey.
All in all, economic and political choices in the 21st century are not only made on the basis of traditional and old-fashioned thinking in spite of the importance of the latter. Countries employing future-oriented approaches and thinking out of the box are carefully becoming involved in a mix of international activities. In that regard, there is certainly a place for the Pacific Alliance.
Article y George N. Tzogopoulos , a lecturer at the Institut européen·European Institute in Nice, France. Source:Global Times