Argentina looking to build bridges with the Pacific Alliance

In another display of economic openness Argentina’s president Mauricio Macri expresses his desire to strengthen its commercial ties with the regional bloc.

In a statement said last week, President Mauricio Macri of Argentina took economic openness even further as he expressed his interest to draw closer to the Pacific Alliance, the trading bloc composed of Chile, Colombia, Peru and Mexico. This comes after several other propositions that had been absent throughout this century, such as seeking a healthier commercial relationship with the United States and the United Kingdom.

Macri asked for Argentina to be accepted as an observer to the Pacific Alliance, adding some weight to his presence at the Alliance’s annual summit in Chile.

The proposal is expected to be received positively from within the organization, as it has long vouched for greater economic integration in the region, and including Argentina will be a big boost towards this endeavor.

Besides that, with it being a commercial Bloc, adding more members, especially large economies such as Argentina, will considerably strengthen their negotiation capacity as they represent a larger market. This will become especially important as the Pacific Alliance advances on its agenda with China.

Previously, Argentina has been a strong character within another regional trading bloc, Mercosur. Formed and maintained by the region’s left-leaning leaders, Brazil, Venezuela and Argentina itself during the Kirchner years, the organization has faced significant inner turbulence, and is now facing a relative lack of funding.

Leaning towards the Pacific Alliance, and away from Mercosur would be the external manifestation of the changes Argentina has adopted on the inside. However, that is not the case, as a spokesman from the Argentine government assured the move “in no way” implies a move away from Mercosur.

The Pacific Alliance, however, has expressed a will to work closer to Mercosur, so Argentina’s role could be that of a matchmaker between the two organizations, as political polarization starts to dissolve in the region.

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