Towards Successful Regional Collaboration in MRV of Climate Finance across the Pacific Alliance

A conversation with Alfonso Galarce, Coordinator of Climate Finance in Chile’s Ministry of the Environment

World Bank supports internationalization of service SMEs of the Pacific Alliance

July 9, 2021.- The World Bank will make a contribution of US$250,000 to the Pacific Alliance (PA) to be used for the internationalization project of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the service trade sector that are provided digitally, initiative being undertaken by the PA services subcommittee.

This was defined during the meeting held by the National Coordinators of the member countries of the Alliance (Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru) and representatives of the international organization, in which it was also established that the terms of reference have already been agreed, including a roadmap that will guide the development of the project, which will be carried out over 2 years.

The main objective is to identify regulatory barriers to international trade and investment in knowledge-based services and digital services in the PA. Likewise, to implement policies and measures that translate into concrete actions to facilitate regional trade. On the other hand, it will allow the Alliance to position itself as a leader in regional integration compared to other integration schemes in the world.

Finally, the implementation of the initiative will significantly increase, in the medium term, international trade in services and foreign direct investment in the region.

It will be developed in 4 stages:

  1. Profile analysis: who are the investors and traders of the Pacific Alliance in digital matters.
  2. Assessment of regulatory barriers and dialogue with the private sector: understanding what entrepreneurs are facing.

  3. Recommendations and adoption of an action plan for regulatory reform.

  4. Implementation and follow-up of the Action Plan.

In this way, the bloc continues to make progress in strengthening trade and in projects that leverage economic reactivation in the Pacific Alliance.

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Switzerland and the Pacific Alliance discuss their experiences in strengthening vocational technical education through the dual model

July 8, 2021.- In order to further strengthen the ties between the education system and the productive system in the region and discuss the importance of professional training that involves the private business world and the public education and employment systems in the countries of the Pacific Alliance (PA), the webinar “How to build trust between the education sector and the private sector to develop an efficient professional training system between industry and training institutes” was organized by the Technical Group of Education (GTE by its acronym in Spanish) of the PA and Switzerland, in its capacity as Observer State.

The Pacific Alliance has worked, through the GTE, to strengthen the Technical Professional Education of the four countries, with the understanding that these actions help develop human capital and boost the productivity and competitiveness of the economies, as well as contribute to overcoming socioeconomic inequality and achieve the objectives of the region’s social inclusion policies.

Why could Switzerland be an example for PA countries? This country has one of the most competitive and innovative economies, thanks to its education system and has a long tradition in the field of vocational education and training, also known as “dual education”. At the end of compulsory school, two-thirds of Swiss young people choose the vocational training path, where there are at least 400 career options.

These professions are the result of the high demand for different skills required by the private sector, which is actively and continuously involved with the curricula for the education sector. Thus, dual education is oriented towards the real and current demand of the economy and corresponds to the available jobs, to the extent that there is a low percentage of youth unemployment and few “neither…nor” (“neither study nor work”) in Switzerland.

Learn more about vocational training in Switzerland here.

The event was attended by Mirko Giulietti, Undersecretary of State for the Americas of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs; Ursula Renold, Professor of Educational Systems at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich; Emanuel Wüthrich, Deputy Director International Affairs of the Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (SFIVET), Christian Michel Casulleras, General Director of the Swiss-Mexican Chamber, and Santiago Fernández de Soto, Head of the Office of Cooperation and International Affairs of the Ministry of Education of Colombia, on behalf of the GTE of the PA, in addition to the testimony of companies that have adopted the dual model in Mexico, such as Zurich Seguros, Firmenich and Schlinder.

The Coordinator of the GTE, who gave the closing remarks of the webinar, highlighted this event as an initial milestone in the strengthening of Dual Education initiatives in each of the PA countries. He also emphasized that it is expected to continue with the support of the Swiss Government in future spaces for learning, exchange and reflection on the progress of this topic in the member countries.

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Pacific Alliance and Singapore: Partners in Globalization

June 29, 2021 – As part of the activities to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Pacific Alliance, the seminar “Pacific Alliance and Singapore: partners in globalization” was held, led by the Embassy of Colombia in Singapore on behalf of the pro tempore presidency of the Pacific Alliance.

The event was attended by the Minister of State and Minister of Trade and Industry of Singapore, Alvin Tan, who accompanied the ambassadors of Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru in Singapore. The event was opened by the Vice Minister of Foreign Trade of Colombia, Laura Valdivieso Jiménez, who in her speech highlighted the 10 years of existence of the Pacific Alliance, spoke of the strengths of this bloc and the progress in the negotiation of a trade agreement with Singapore, a candidate country to be considered as an Associated State of the PA.

Minister Tan for his part recalled that the seminar shows the different interests that can be explored between the four countries and Singapore. He recalled that the PA is a champion of free trade and has achieved important developments in areas such as liberalization for investment, visas, stock market exchange. He said that the PA is connected with Singapore and this makes them partners in globalization. He also invited more Latin American companies to enter Southeast Asia and affirmed that there is a lot of potential between the regions.  He also stated that this trade agreement will be the first Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed between Singapore and Colombia. In addition, he said that business must be supported by a strong structure and mentioned that for Singapore the agreement will be fundamental in terms of cooperation, infrastructure, innovation and food trade.

In the panel of ambassadors, special emphasis was placed on the benefits for Singapore of being the first Associate State of the Pacific Alliance. Among them, they mentioned the advantage of being the first Associated country with access to the eighth largest economy in the world such as the PA. They also mentioned the possibility of accessing digital economies, the integration of companies and startups, the DEPA agreement that promotes digital trade, rules of origin, value chains, job creation, the promotion of knowledge-intensive goods, maritime and air transport services and investment in a harmonious environment between countries.

Chile spoke of the need for clean energy, emphasizing green hydrogen, and invited other countries to invest. Colombia also spoke about energy and the ease for companies to maintain operations from any country in the alliance. He also referred to the possibility of Singapore developing startup projects and financial support. Mexico referred to the importance of establishing alliances and developing best practices and synergies in cooperation, technology and production chains. Peru, for its part, referred to food security, recalling that although the PA currently produces 13% of the world’s food, by 2029 it is expected to reach 28% with nearly 200,000 hectares covered. He also mentioned superfoods for long and healthy lifestyles, and the need for organized value chains so that products arrive on time and in the expected conditions.

Dr. Francis Chong, senior director of emerging markets at Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, who was part of the panel, spoke about the importance of medical supplies. Likewise, he emphasized that in this digital era, the physical interaction of people cannot be left aside to generate associations and create channels.

During the closing of the day, Eduardo Pedroza, General Secretary of PECC, participated, who emphasized the PA as a mechanism for dialogue, recalling the termination of PAFSTA, and referred to the importance of meetings like this one, so that the community has knowledge of the advantages of being allies with the PA.

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The second meeting of the High Level Group of the Pacific Alliance was held under the pro tempore presidency of Colombia

June 15, 2021.- The second meeting of the High Level Group (GAN, by its acronym in Spanish) of the Pacific Alliance was held this Tuesday under the pro tempore presidency of Colombia, made up of the Vice Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, within the framework of the 41st Round of Technical Groups and Committees.

The meeting was headed by the Vice Minister of Multilateral Affairs, Adriana Mejía, and the Head of the Negotiating Team, Luis Felipe Quintero, both authorities from Colombia – the country that holds the pro tempore presidency of the regional bloc. Also participating were the Undersecretary of International Economic Relations of Chile, Rodrigo Yáñez; the Undersecretary of Foreign Trade of Mexico, Luz María de la Mora; and the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ignacio Higueras, and the Vice Minister of Foreign Trade, Diego Sebastián Llosa, of Peru.

On the occasion, the authorities listened to the intervention of the Pacific Alliance Business Council by Paola Buendía García, from ANDI. Subsequently, the Vice Ministers reviewed the current status of the negotiations with the candidates for Associated State and Roadmaps on the Sustainable Management of Plastics, Empowerment and Autonomy of Women, Regional Digital Market and Improvement of Management. Likewise, the GAN addressed issues related to the validity of the Cooperation Fund.

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With a webinar on the forms of measurement disaggregated by sex, the gender focus training of the technical groups and committees of the Pacific Alliance comes to an end

On Wednesday, June 9, the last day of training on gender approach was held for the members of the technical groups, committees and working groups of the Pacific Alliance (PA), organized by the Technical Group on Gender of the PA with support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The webinar “Forms of measurement disaggregated by sex”, which was attended by more than 100 participants, was led by Alicia Frohmann, an ECLAC consultant with a long career in international trade and in academic, government and international organizations. She also directs the global project Gender, Social Inclusion and Cooperation Trade of the United Kingdom. As an academic, she is a professor at the Institute of International Studies of the University of Chile and the Center for Latin America of the University of Heidelberg.

At the event, the importance of integrating a gender approach in the analysis and evaluation of any initiative through the use of sex-disaggregated data was highlighted. Similarly, developing an intersectional and multidimensional analysis is key to identify and understand the situation of women in any scenario. Finally, the speaker emphasized the great opportunity that the technical groups, committees and subcommittees of the Pacific Alliance have to create spaces for sharing experiences, strengths and weaknesses in the collection and use of sex-disaggregated data in each of their countries.

These three days of training also addressed issues such as the incorporation of gender approach – in a transversal way – in the work of the groups and the use of inclusive language, and the development of projects with this approach, all this in order to achieve what was established in 2015 through the Declaration of Paracas to promote gender equality and mainstream the gender perspective in the various initiatives and actions of the Pacific Alliance.

See the full presentation here.

Pacific Alliance English Network participates in New Zealand Global Competences Certificate + Teacher Training Course

On May 10, the New Zealand Global Competences Certificate + Teacher Training course for the Pacific Alliance English Network began with 40 participants.

Welcoming remarks were given by Fiona Cameron from Education New Zealand, Santiago Fernández De Soto from the Colombian Ministry of National Education and Andrea Flavel from Massey University.

The Global Competences Certificate or GCC created by AFS Intercultural Programs and facilitated by Massey University empowers students and teachers with tangible global competence skills that are fundamental to building just and peaceful societies.

In addition, participants will receive two weeks of Teacher Training which among other things will allow the creation of a “Learning Community” for teacher support and guidance, where methodologies, teaching practices and resources can be shared after the course is completed.

The Pacific Alliance English Network (RIAP, by its acronym in Spanish) aims to develop a cooperation strategy to improve this language in the bloc.

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The Pacific Alliance commemorated its 10th Anniversary with a Presidential Panel

With the participation of the President of Colombia, Iván Duque; the President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera; the President of Peru, Francisco Sagasti, and the Secretary of Economy of Mexico, Tatiana Clouthier, last Friday, April 30, the commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the creation of the Pacific Alliance (PA) was held virtually.

The event began with welcoming remarks by President Iván Duque, who in his capacity as president pro tempore referred to the progress made in strengthening intra-regional trade, investment diversification, structural steps in environmental matters such as the agreement for the protection of the oceans, the elimination of tourism and business visas facilitating the mobility of people and the instruments for digital transformation. “Today we have set the roadmap for the Digital Market within the Pacific Alliance,” the President emphasized.

The President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, told how the idea of the Alliance was born and stressed that seeking integration not only inward but also outward is what has allowed it to be so successful. He also pointed out the tasks ahead in this new decade: to increase intra-regional trade and make rules of origin more flexible, accelerate the incorporation of the associated States, advance in the convergence with Mercosur, in the incorporation of women and SMEs and promote the digital economy and the technological revolution, especially in the post-pandemic scenario. “I call on the Pacific Alliance, along with celebrating its first 10 years, to make a firm resolution that the next 10 years will be better,” said the Chilean President.

The President of Peru, Francisco Sagasti, also referred to the openness, breadth, pragmatism and operability as qualities of the Pacific Alliance and focused his speech on the challenges of the next decade based on the 2030 vision: the promotion of science, technology and innovation, the use of technology not only in terms of the digital economy but also related to the environment, the empowerment of women, the closing of gender gaps and the strengthening of the relationship with ASEAN, APEC and our traditional partners in Latin America, Europe and North America. “We must consolidate the positioning of the PA as the main platform for multidimensional integration in Latin America,” said Sagasti.

The Secretary of Economy of Mexico, Tatiana Clouthier, pointed out that regional integration is a priority tool to face common challenges and that solidarity multilateralism is fundamental to move forward in the current crisis scenario resulting from Covid-19. In addition, she spoke about the issues on which the work of the PA has focused and on which work must be prioritized in the next decade, such as the implementation of a Regional Digital Market, the empowerment of women, the promotion of innovation and entrepreneurship, the reactivation of tourism, youth employability, among others. “We have the conviction that these actions will allow us to have more integrated, more global, more connected societies and, above all, closer to the needs of citizens,” said the Secretary of Economy.

After the intervention of the representatives of each country, each one answered the questions posed by the moderator Andrea Bernal, related to the importance of the Pacific Alliance in the economic reactivation in the current situation, the main assets and challenges of the mechanism, intra-regional trade integration, incentives for entrepreneurship, the associated States, the incorporation of environmental and circular economy issues, the initiatives in terms of employability and job training, and the advantages of working with other economic blocs such as ASEAN and APEC.

The event was also attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, Claudia Blum, and the Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism, José Manuel Restrepo, who referred to the achievements of the Alliance over the past 10 years and ratified their commitment to continue working for a more integrated, more connected, more citizen-oriented and more global Alliance.

Household cleaning products within the Pacific Alliance will circulate under the same rules of the game

April 30, 2021 – The Ministers of Trade of the member countries of the Pacific Alliance – Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru – signed Decision number 11, through which they harmonize technical and sanitary requirements and eliminate those considered unnecessary for the trade of cleaning products between the four countries.

This is one more step in the facilitation of trade within the integration mechanism, which contributes to the consolidation of deep integration and the increase of trade, in the search for the reactivation of these economies.

The signing of this Decision resulted from the meeting of the Free Trade Commission of the Pacific Alliance, which took place within the framework of the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the creation of the integration mechanism, during the pro tempore presidency of Colombia.

The decision eliminates technical barriers to trade in this type of products, such as, for example, that none of the four countries will require a certificate of free sale for their commercialization in any of the territories. They also agreed to adopt or strengthen a model based on market surveillance, based on international regulatory best practices.

The countries also harmonized the requirements to be met by the labels of cleaning products, which translates into the elimination of additional costs caused by relabeling when importing some of these goods from these countries.

Likewise, the effort of the countries in the commitment to eliminate the Mandatory Health Notification number and the sanitary registration number on the labeling of these products, within a period of 3 years, is highlighted.

This regulatory harmonization applies to household cleaning products whose purpose is to remove dirt, aromatize or deodorize the environment, protect, care for, clean, wash, condition, disinfect or sanitize objects, utensils, fabrics, clothing, furniture and surfaces in different areas of the home or similar facilities.

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Colombia announces contribution of USD 278,329 for the reactivation of the cultural sector in the Pacific Alliance countries

  • The National Government, through APC-Colombia, delivers this contribution, within the framework of the 10th anniversary of the Pacific Alliance.

  • Colombia currently holds the pro tempore presidency of the Pacific Alliance and the Coordination of the Technical Group of Culture headed by the Colombian sectoral portfolio.

  • This initiative is part of the Cooperation Strategy led by MinCultura, with the aim of consolidating alliances to strengthen and enhance, technically and economically, the projects it leads, for the benefit of the protection and promotion of culture, heritage and the development of the Orange Economy in the country.

April 28, 2021 – The announcement of the financial contribution of USD 278. 329, to boost the implementation of the work plan of the Technical Group of Culture, during the 2021 term, was made by the director of International Cooperation Offer of APC-Colombia, Catalina Quintero, during the virtual conversation ‘Strategic Alliance for the strengthening of culture in the Pacific Alliance’, held this April 27 and with the participation of the Minister of Culture of Colombia, Felipe Buitrago; the director of the Regional Center for the Promotion of Books in Latin America and the Caribbean (Cerlac), Andrés Ossa and representatives from Chile, Mexico and Peru.

“We consider that the actions foreseen within this Strategic Alliance, such as the digital calendar on the cultural offer in the countries of the Pacific Alliance, the training activities for human resources in charge of cultural and creative affairs, among others, contribute significantly to the economic reactivation of one of the sectors most affected by the pandemic caused by Covid-19, such as the culture sector”, said the director of International Cooperation Offer of APC-Colombia, Catalina Quintero.

The contribution of the Government of Colombia is made within the framework of the country’s pro tempore presidency of the Pacific Alliance and the Coordination of the Technical Group of Culture, led by MinCultura.

“The work plan that the Technical Group of Culture has outlined for the period 2021, is an ambitious plan that seeks, on the one hand, to continue strengthening the creative and cultural industries in the region and on the other hand, to support the reactivation of cultural agents that were affected by the health crisis,” said the Colombian Minister of Culture.

In this way, the Technical Group of Culture prioritized three main lines of action: promoting the circulation and generation of networks and monetary and non-monetary exchanges of cultural goods and services; promoting capacity building, the exchange of experiences and knowledge and the qualification of occupations of independent cultural agents; and continuing to strengthen the publishing sector and, gradually, the performing arts, music and the audiovisual sector.

“With the implementation of this work plan, we seek to consolidate a more integrated, connected and entrepreneurial Alliance, with the objective of contributing to the achievement of Vision 2030,” highlighted Minister Buitrago.

For his part, Andrés Felipe Ossa, director of the Regional Center for the Promotion of Books in Latin America and the Caribbean (Cerlalc), which will be a central ally in the agenda projected by the Pacific Alliance in 2021, said: “Cerlalc firmly believes that this strategic alliance will allow to fully meet the objectives shared by the actors involved, especially in the economic reactivation of member countries, through the transfer of knowledge and the increase of human capital resulting from this alliance. An economy that recognizes the value of creativity and ideas is fundamental for the challenges we face in the 21st century.

Also participating in the Facebook Live were Rocio Errazquín, coordinator of International Relations and Creative Industries of the Ministry of Cultures, Arts and Heritage of Chile; Ana Laura Rojo, deputy director of International Cultural Cooperation of the Ministry of Culture of Mexico and Wilyam Lúcar, director of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Culture of Peru.

“We would like to thank APC-Colombia and the Ministry of Culture, which have come to develop a great work. We also express our enthusiasm for this announcement and the participation of the Pacific Alliance in prioritizing the publishing sector,” said Ana Laura Rojo, deputy director of International Cultural Cooperation of the Mexican Ministry of Culture.

The work agenda of MinCultura and APC-Colombia, also has among its central objectives the consolidation of the International School of the Orange Economy, with the aim of sharing with other Latin American partners, the Ibero-American region, and other parts of the world, the best practices and public policies implemented by the country, around the creative economy.

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