chapter  20
The Pacific Alliance
WithGian Luca Gardini
Pages 11

Amid a climate of widespread criticism of neoliberalism and free trade, in 2011 Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru went against the tide and launched the Pacific Alliance (Alianza del Pacífico) to pursue regional integration based on the centrality of the economy and a firm belief in free trade. Innovatively, the Alliance seeks trade integration with the Asia-Pacific while intra-bloc integration mostly aims to achieve socially inclusive development. The Alliance is a pragmatic project in that it does not pursue full-scale integration but adopts a piecemeal approach prioritizing relatively uncontroversial areas, thus creating a narrative of success. Is early achievements are remarkable. They include a substantial removal of barriers to trade in goods, the creation of an integrated capital market, a wide network of observer states, and several societal initiatives. Still, major challenges lie ahead. These include the consolidation of the free trade agreement in the service and capital sectors, the correct handling of trade with Asia to avoid the reprimarization of the economy, the ability to capitalize on vast international interest, and the consistent pursuit of social development. The Alliance is now a successful marketing and branding tool for its members. More substantial advances have to be made so as not to lose momentum.