Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Summit of the Pacific Alliance: ...Return of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)?

Pacific Alliance: Return of the FTAA?

By Anubis Galardy

THE Summit of the Pacific Alliance, comprising Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Peru, which took place May 23 in Cali, Colombia, left clear its pretension to become the new economic and development organization for Latin America and the Caribbean, within a framework of the free circulation of goods, services, capital and persons among its member states.

The idea of former Peruvian President Alan García, formalized in Chile in 2012, the implementation of this new regional mechanism has generated rejection, criticism and distrust.

Argentine political analyst Atilio Borón defined it as a political-economic maneuver on the part of Washington to retrieve its lost influence in the region, after the 2005 defeat in Mar del Plata of its grand strategic project, the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

In other words, the plan is to build a kind of contra-insurgency or reactionary corridor to counterbalance the radical or moderate left in the region, Borón emphasized.

Peruvian researcher Carlos Alonso agrees with this perception. For him, the Alliance is also a resurgence of the failed FTAA, this time in an undisguised neoliberal version.

The Pacific Alliance has emerged in the face of other regional integration mechanisms such as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), MERCOSUR, the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).with a concrete divisive and pro-Washington mission, to facilitate the United States repositioning itself with force in the region, he noted.

The Pacific Alliance divides South America into two: a part which seeks to play a role in world politics, for which it needs to act within a framework of sovereignty, and another with clear right-wing leanings, and inclined toward Washington, Alonso continues.

In summary, it is simply a merger of the Free Trade Treaties that Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Chile and shortly Panama and Costa Rica (currently observer countries) have with the United States, among themselves and with other countries in the region sharing a Pacific coast, Alonso concludes.

In his opinion, all of this is pointed toward a supra-free trade area with the Asian-Pacific region (Pacific Arch) which the United States is seeking to dominate.

Meanwhile, in Colombia, which assumed the rotating presidency of the Alliance at the Summit, Eduardo Sarmiento, director of the School of Engineering’s Economic Observatory, stated, "The free interchange of goods among members of this new bloc could possibly generate cheaper products, but at the cost of sacrificing employment and the country’s growth." (Orbe weekly)

June 06, 2013