31 March 2017
Chile Hosts Meeting of Asia-Pacific Trade Ministers
Representatives from Tran-Pacific Partnership member economies, as well as mainland China, Colombia and South Korea, met in Chile in mid-March to discuss the current state of affairs in international trade as well as the available alternatives to advance free trade. A joint statement issued by the TPP countries (not including the United States, which has withdrawn from the agreement) reiterated a commitment to “collaborate in keeping markets open and to the free flow of goods, services and investment, advancing regional economic integration, and strengthening the rules-based international trading system.” The parties examined views on a way forward that would advance economic integration in the Asia Pacific and agreed to meet again in the margins of the May 20-21 APEC trade ministers meeting.
Separately, the member nations of the Pacific Alliance – Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru – agreed to establish a new associated membership status in an effort to promote the launch of trade negotiations with Asia Pacific economies. The goal of the Alliance is to pursue high-standard free trade agreement negotiations that are concluded in a fairly short period of time. The Alliance currently has 49 observer economies, including mainland China, and is hoping that some of these economies obtain associate member status and begin FTA discussions in the foreseeable future.