Peruvian President Alan Garcia has announced plans for Peru, Colombia, Mexico, and Chile to create a new economic bloc. Garcia told the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo that plans are in place for the leaders of each nation to meet in Lima on May 2 in order to set out a road map for further economic integration.
“On May 2 President Santos, President Piñera of Chile, President Calderon of Mexico and myself will meet. We will formalize the deep integration between the four countries. We will arrange the greatest possible free movement of capital, services, products and people so that we can grow more effectively,” Garcia said.
Colombia and Peru currently have economic ties through the Andean Community of Nations (CAN), a union born in 1969 that also has Bolivia and Ecuador as its permanent members. However, Garcia stated his belief that the Community has had its time as a result of the need to begin looking for outward integration in the face of rapid technological transfer and the globalization of finance and investment.
The Peruvian president added that he strongly advocates Colombia’s inclusion in APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation), a forum which Peru has been a member of since 1998 and something that Colombia is currently pushing to become a part of.
Last November, Chile, Colombia and Peru signed a deal that will facilitate the integration of each country’s stock markets. The inclusion of Mexico, currently the world’s 12th largest economy based on GDP, in an economic deal with more breadth thus further represents Colombia’s increasing desire to become internationally recognized as an economic force.
Garcia’s interview came at the end of an official state visit to Colombia. He is due to step down from the post in July this year with presidential elections due next month in Peru. Based on the current constitution, presidents are only allowed a single five-year term.