The Pacific Alliance: 2018 and beyond
Fri, Aug. 31, 2018 8:00am — 11:00am
Pullman Hotel, Cnr Princes Street & Waterloo Quadrant, Auckland
An audience of approximately 80 representatives from a variety of industries gathered for breakfast in Auckland on 31 August 2018, to hear from the Ambassadors of the Pacific Alliance nations and to receive presentations from each of the countries’ Trade Commissioners.
With Caroline Bilkey, Assistant Secretary and Director of MFAT Auckland acting as MC, attendees were treated to a comprehensive panel discussion between the four Ambassadors.
H.E. Rodrigo Espinosa, Ambassador of Chile, noted that the Pacific Alliance had been created in 2011, bringing together four countries with similar view on trade, economics and how their countries should be run. With a combined population of 225 million people, the Pacific Alliance is the 8th largest economy in the world, accounting for 38% of GDP in Latin America, and attracting 41% of total Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America.
H.E. Jaime Bueno Miranda, Ambassador of Colombia, commented that the four countries had complete trust in their open economies, sharing the desire to be more competitive, more productive, and in doing so, increasing the quality of life for their people.
H.E. Gerardo Traslosheros, Ambassador of Mexico, said that the Pacific Alliance was ‘a joint nation branding effort to promote free trade and investment and increase the influence of its member states’. In terms of the Pacific Alliance’s achievements to date, Ambassador Traslosheros said:
“As a group, we are fabulous, and this is why I think we have so many Observers (countries)”.
He went on to list a number of initiatives that support the Pacific Alliance’s strategies for an open economy, including the regular review of laws and regulations surrounding trade, the establishment and work of the Pacific Alliance Business Council in ensuring business sectors were represented and the establishment of the combined stock exchange of all four countries (the Mercado Integrado Latinoamericano (MILA)) which had created the largest stock market in the region.
Ambassador Traslosheros noted that the Alliance needed to do more to facilitate the movement of its citizens and needed to achieve greater financial inclusion – region wide – and that this could also be viewed as an opportunity for the Alliance and those countries seeking Associate membership. Initiatives were in place to reduce the level of ‘red-tape’ required for investors to start a business and to support the development of SME’s through the Pacific Alliance Venture Capital Fund.
H.E. Miguel Palomino de la Gala, Ambassador of Peru, noted that Peru - as President Pro-Tempore of the Pacific Alliance for 2018/2019 – would be overseeing the final two rounds of negotiations with New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and Canada (Auckland in September, Lima in November) before moving to sign the completed agreement in the new year.
The audience were invited to ask questions of the Ambassadors, with Diana Hawker, Lead Advisor of the Americas Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade first offering MFAT’s perspective of why the Pacific Alliance was so important to New Zealand - economically, strategically and politically.
Murray Parrish, of Oji Fibre Technologies, queried whether there were any obvious areas of easy improvement in trade between the Alliance countries and New Zealand.
Ambassador Bueno Miranda commented that there was a social need to improve the disparity in Colombia, noting that one third of the country had been ‘empty areas’ – areas owned by the government, but which were now able to be developed. New Zealand’s expertise in agriculture was a desirable commodity, but Colombia in return, as a tropical area, also offered an opportunity to grow produce all year round.
Ambassador Traslosheros noted that agricultural trade could expand both ways, with Mexico offering a range of products that would be welcome in New Zealand supermarkets and a market size that New Zealand couldn’t match, suggesting that New Zealand exporters could use that as a platform for production. Ambassador Traslosheros also commented on the reputation of New Zealand’s innovation, noting that the sale of innovative products and services into Mexico could not only improve export sales, but result in making Mexico more competitive - by selling New Zealand products.
Ambassador Espinosa noted that there was an increasing level of interest in education, and the availability of scholarships for students to study abroad. Ambassador Palomino de la Gala commented that tourism between the two countries could be vastly improved, but the time taken to issue tourist visas needed to be addressed.
Matthew O’Meagher, former LANZBC President and Director of the Latin America CAPE, queried which areas the Pacific Alliance business communities were most interested in engaging with.
Ambassador Traslosheros noted that Mexican business executives needed to be educated about New Zealand as a potential market and that many saw it as too small.
Ambassador Bueno Miranda listed several industries that were keen to engage with New Zealand, including the chemistry, mechanical, fashion, life sciences, and tourism industries, but also noted that Colombia required substantial investment in its infrastructure, with airports, ports railroads all needing investment.
Ambassador Espinosa noted that Chile and New Zealand were competitors on the international market, but that there was interest in New Zealand’s technology, agriculture and education – especially related to agriculture.
Ambassador Palomino de la Gala informed the audience that Peru would be reopening an Embassy in New Zealand at the end of the year and that this supported the message that Peru was very keen to work with New Zealand.
Following the Q&A session with the Ambassadors, each Trade Commissioner delivered a fascinating 10-minute presentation on the various business opportunities their country offered New Zealand. These presentations are available to download from our website, below.
The event offered attendees a fantastic opportunity for networking with like-minded businesses and to connect with the Ambassadors and Trade Commissioners. The LANZBC would like to thank the Pacific Alliance Trade Commissions and Ambassadors for putting the event together and look forward to working with each agency in the future.
pdf 3.1 MB Presentation given by Paula Moreno, Trade Commissioner for Chile, to the Pacific Alliance: 2018 & beyond event, 31 August 2018
pdf 5.9 MB Presentation given by Esau Garza, Trade Commissioner for Mexico, to the Pacific Alliance: 2018 & beyond event, 31 August 2018
pdf 6.6 MB Presentation given by Juan Carlos Jimenez, Trade Commissioner of Colombia, to the Pacific Alliance: 2018 & beyond event, 31 August 2018