The Pacific Alliance High Level Group comprising the Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Vice Ministers of Chile, Colombia, Peru and Mexico, recently held a virtual meeting.
As Chile currently holds the Pro Tempore Presidency of the regional bloc, the meeting was chaired by Chile’s International Economic Relations Undersecretary Rodrigo Yáñez. The following were the other participants: From Colombia: Vice-minister for Multilateral Affairs Adriana Mejía and Vice-minister of Foreign Trade Laura Valdivieso; from Mexico: Undersecretary for Latin America and the Caribbean Maximiliano Reyes and Undersecretary for Foreign Trade Luz María de la Mora; and from Peru: Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Jaime Pamareda and Deputy Foreign Trade Minister Sayuri Bayona.
The officials reviewed the progress made with the COVID-19 work plan, which was approved in April and includes measures in 14 priority areas, such as market access, productive chains, trade facilitation and support for SMEs, tourism and e-commerce.
The High Level Group also assessed the projects submitted to the entity’s Cooperation Fund, which is allocating resources to mitigate the economic and social effects of Coronavirus in Pacific Alliance countries.
It approved four projects presented by its Technical Groups:
The High Level Group also agreed to continue to work together with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) to develop other projects that form part of the COVID-19 work plan. The proposed projects include the 2020 Pacific Alliance Virtual Macro Tourism Business Matching Forum, the report on policies to achieve a work-family life balance and their impact on female business owners in the post-COVID-19 context, and the setting up of internet platforms in the area of the digital economy.
The officials highlighted the success of other actions promoted by the Pacific Alliance Technical Groups and Committees. One of these was the COVID Challenge, which was held with the support of the IDB and received a total of 396 initiatives with innovative solutions for mitigating the pandemic. The eight winning projects — two from each Pacific Alliance country — will receive seed capital and advisory services from Pacific Alliance experts. In the area of trade facilitation, the meeting highlighted the online processing of certificates of origin and sanitary certificates, as these have undoubtedly supported exporters during this period.
In the area of trade promotion, the participants discussed digital macro business matching forums and highlighted the success of the first one, which was held with the United Kingdom. The initiative produced real business to the value of US$1.5 million and an additional US$17 million in prospective business for the 50 exporters from the four countries that participated in the event. The next macro business matching forums will be held among Pacific Alliance countries and with countries from Central America, Europe and Asia-Oceania.