US accepted as an observer to the Pacific Alliance
"The United States applauds the progress the Pacific Alliance has made to integrate its markets and the strong economic policies pursued by its members as examples for Latin America. We intend to use our observer status to recognize and support these achievements and to advance the values we share with the member states, including commitments to expanding free markets, reducing inequality, opening trade, and welcoming foreign investment.
"The United States already enjoys strong and productive economic relations and a free trade agreement with each Pacific Alliance member country. Our participation as an observer is a natural extension of those existing economic relationships and our cooperative efforts under the Trans-Pacific Partnership with Alliance members Chile, Peru, and Mexico," said the US State Department in a press relese.
At the same time, Brazil is trying to downplay the significance of the alliance. Brazilian Foreign minister Antonio Patriota said the Pacific Alliance "is an effort which brings together countries with similar characteristics, but not an alliance, or a free trade zone or a customs union, much less an integration project such is the case of Mercosur".
According to Mr. Patriota, Mercosur countries - Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela - are "full of life and dynamic" and in 2019 "we will have a South American free trade zone, next to other blocks such as the Caribbean Community, Carikcom".
"When I say that the alliance is marketing or a new package for the same existing produce I'm not trying to downplay, since we are talking of countries that are most important for Brazil. And Brazil hopes and expects that this effort will help make those economies more dynamic and elevate living standards," said Mr. Patriota. ■