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Pacific Alliance Approves Guidelines for Associate Members

Pacific Alliance countries are entering a new stage in their integration process by formalising the procedures that would permit the addition of new countries to their economic bloc. As part of this new stage of affairs, high-ranking trade officials from Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru recently approved a set of guidelines for so-called associate states, which will be a precursor category for launching trade negotiations with those economies. Associate state status will be a step up from the current observing member status. Countries interested in joining the Pacific Alliance will need to commit to a trade agreement with high standards in terms of commercial disciplines. Countries can become associate states either by invitation or by request.

A number of countries are already lining up to become associate states. Australia, which recently agreed to launch free trade agreement negotiations with Peru, as well as New Zealand and Canada, have all expressed interest and received invitations from Pacific Alliance members. According to the Mexican minister of economy, the interest of Mexico and the Alliance as a whole is to enhance their linkages to Asian economies and make sure the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership does not derail this process.

In other recent Pacific Alliance actions, the member countries approved observing status for European Union member states Slovenia, Croatia and Lithuania. In terms of regulatory convergence, they also recently greenlighted the harmonisation of regulations related to food supplements. The Pacific Alliance members observe that advances on organic food harmonisation and general recognition of food and pharmaceutical procedures in each other’s markets is also advancing at a good pace.

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