After two days of intense activity, the "High Level Dialogue on Integration Initiatives for Asia Pacific: Challenges and Opportunities" concluded this afternoon. The dialogue took place in Viña del Mar and had as a main objective to create a space to exchange opinions about economic and commercial integration initiatives in the Asia Pacific region.
"This has been a useful, beneficial, and rich reunion that has kept our commitment with free trade and integration of the Asia Pacific region going forward" stated the Chilean Minister of Foreign Affairs, Heraldo Muñoz, in the press conference held at the end of the encounter.
"We believe this reunion took place in the right moment, where many uncertainties in the international scene remain" affirms the Chief of Chilean diplomacy, adding that this reunion "has contributed to generate more certainty in the sense that we represent those countries in favour of open trade and integration of Asia Pacific which is still the most dynamic region in the world economy".
The Secretary of State highlighted that the first part of this encounter allowed the exchange of different points of view about the actual perspective on world economy. During the encounter they recognized the existence of economic and political uncertainty, with some emerging protectionist signals in some parts of the world and other weaker economic signals. Because of this, Minister Muñoz stated there was a strong emphasis in the growth rates of the region. He indicated that "together we can take advantage of even more considerable growth rates, more trade, and more investments between our countries".
The Minister informed that the participants insisted on "the importance of the economic cooperation and the liberalization between the economies of the region. They also agreed on the commitment with free trade and open markets", along with highlighting the necessity that free trade must be inclusive and progressive, "in the sense that the benefits of the open markets, more trade between our countries could get to all sectors of our society. In other words, globalization should benefit us all and not just some".
Heraldo Muñoz also emphasized the decision made by the Pacific Alliance Council of Ministers of initiating conversations to agree on treaties of free trade with partners of Asia Pacific, "if they meet the quality and high standards in a brief period of time".
"We believe this is a meaningful signal when there is uncertainty, and it is also a way to advance towards regional integration. We will contact partners in due time to talk about concrete initiatives in free trade. Once these are complete, this will mean that each country that agrees on free trade with the Pacific Alliance will be considered associate country", noted the Foreign Minister. This way, there will be three categories in the block: full member, associate member, and observer.
About the TPP, he stated that its members met this morning and agreed on maintaining contacts to analyse the different options for progress. The Secretary of State stated "we emphasized on the importance of high standards and disciplines stated in the TPP, which should serve as a referent for the efforts of integration".
He concluded "we have learnt a lot from each other and now we are waiting for our conversations to materialize into more integration and more free trade in this region".
The countries that participated in the High Level Dialogue were Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Colombia, South Korea, United States, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.