QCOSTARICA – President Luis Guillermo Solis, on his way to Chile Tuesday afternoon (his 22nd away trip since taking office on May 2014) told reporters in jest he did not know if and when he was coming back to Costa Rica.
The President is in Chile to take part in the Alianza del Pacífico (Pacific Alliance) summit, being held in Puerto Varas from June 28 to July 1, where he is expected to be there for only one day.
But, the president, in a funny mood said, “I will arrive tomorrow in Santiago, from there will be taken to Puerto Varas, where I will be for only one day and back to Costa Rica. I will then have some meetings on Friday or Saturday, I don’t know when I will be back until I get there”.
Solis assures the trip is one to promote the country and to be part of “an important participation in the business of the Pacific Alliance forum, as well as meetings with the heads of the states of the Alliance…to expose the national point of view.”
The Pacific Alliance is a Latin American trade bloc, which currently has four member states — Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, which all border the Pacific Ocean.
At the VII Pacific Alliance Summit in Cali, Colombia, on May 22, 2013, Costa Rica signed a trade agreement with Colombia, and later in the summit received approval for full membership from all the founding members.
Costa Rica began the process of joining the Alliance on February 10, 2014, at the eighth summit of the Alliance in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, when President Laura Chinchilla signed a protocol at a plenary session finalizing the decision to join the alliance, so it can be readily incorporated as the Alliance’s fifth member.
The country, under the Solis Administration, has since postponed its incorporation into the Alliance indefinitely, pending consultations by its presidential economic council.
In addition to reducing trade barriers, the Pacific Alliance has begun several other projects for regional integration, including visa-free travel, a common stock exchange, and joint embassies in several countries.
Forty nine countries are listed as ‘observer nations’ to the Alliance, that include: Argentina, Canada, China, Costa Rica (in the process of becoming a full member,stalled), France, Guatemala, India, Italy, Panama (in the process of becoming a full member), Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States.