23 November, 2012
New Zealand gains observer access to Latin American bloc
New Zealand has been granted observer status to the fast-growing Latin America economic bloc known as the Pacific Alliance, which includes Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru.
Trade Minister Tim Groser says observer status gives New Zealand a chance to forge closer links in the region.
“New Zealand values its engagement with these like-minded Latin American countries. Intensifying our relationship with them via the Pacific Alliance provides real opportunities for New Zealand trade with the region.”
The Pacific Alliance was formed in April 2011, with the aim of facilitating regional economic integration in a way that complemented existing bilateral agreements between members.
The current grouping brings together a population of 215 million and combined GDP of more than US$2 trillion. Together Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru account for 35 percent of the GDP of Latin America and the Caribbean, and represent more than half of the region’s trade.
New Zealand already works closely with Mexico, Chile and Peru in the context of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations and APEC, and shares with all members the goal of Asia-Pacific economic integration.
“Observer status offers New Zealand an additional strand to our already warm and comprehensive relationships with each Pacific Alliance member,” says Mr Groser.
“As an observer, New Zealand will be better placed to build our existing relationships, and to share experiences and learning on integration within the Asia-Pacific region.”