(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The Pacific Alliance, a new Latin American economic bloc that accounts for 26 per cent of Dubai's overall trade with the region, made its Gulf debut with an official launch in Dubai on Tuesday.
The economic bloc, comprising four Latin American countries - Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru is an initiative led by the Presidents of Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. The bloc, with a high growth potential, low inflation, market openness and a conductive business environment, accounts for over 50 per cent (Dh4 trillion) of Latin America's external trade, 35 per cent of its GDP (Dh7.3 trillion) and is considered the eighth largest economy in the world.
Current trade between the Pacific Alliance and the GCC is 1.3 billion out of which 45 per cent came from the UAE. The UAE direct investment in the Pacific Alliance is estimated to be of Dh26 billion.
The launch ceremony, hosted in Dubai by ProChile, ProExport Colombia, ProMexico and PromPeru, was attended by representatives from government and business. They included Abdullah Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the UAE Ministry of Trade; Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of the Dubai Department of Economic Development; Khalid Al Boom, Deputy CEO, Dubai FDI; and the Ambassadors of the member countries.
"The Pacific Alliance countries are among the region's most attractive for foreign trade and investment, with sound macroeconomic fundamentals, mature democracies, and ranked among the top 25 in of the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business index," said Jean-Paul Tarud, Ambassador of Chile in the UAE. "We have created a strong integration among our countries, so we can better engage with the rest of the world, especially with the UAE." Al Qamzi said Dubai's trade with the Pacific Alliance countries has grown at an average of 34 per cent annually yet there remained vast untapped potential.
"In comparison with Central and South America, Dubai's trade with the Pacific Alliance countries is significant, accounting for about 26 per cent on the average of its total trade with that region over the period 2008-2012 till, we believe we should set a more ambitious bilateral trade objective and take concrete steps that are aligned with our respective comparative advantages," he said.
Dubai's trade with Latin America averaged about Dh17 billion annually in recent years and in that, the Pacific Alliance nations accounted for almost Dh5 billion, said Al Qamzi. He said trade with the Alliance countries has grown relatively faster, averaging almost 34 per cent annually since 2008, against less than eight per cent for Dubai's trade with the world. It went from about Dh1.8 billion in 2008 to over Dh5 billion in 2012.
"This is a positive development towards strengthening the relations between the Alliance and Dubai," he said. "I am confident that the launch of Pacific Alliance will prove to be a significant step in creating a healthy trade balance between Dubai and the Alliance, as well as in achieving the overall objectives of the Alliance."
Fahad Al Gergawi, chief executive officer of Dubai FDI, said that being in Dubai would be a significant strength for The Pacific Alliance in achieving its goal of accelerated trade exchanges, especially with the fastest growing economies in the world.
"For Dubai its unique strength is in combining its geography, infrastructure and can-do spirit to provide the most efficient links to a population of 2.2 billion across the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia by way of trade and people movements," said Al Gergawi.
"Few countries, like the UAE, can boast to be home to the four agencies ProChile, ProExport Colombia, ProMexico and PromPeru - and thus the possibility of enhancing greater ties and having a direct role within the Pacific Alliance," said Alvaro Silva Santisteban, Director of PromPeru in the UAE. The launch ceremony also included a panel discussion focused on successful ventures in The Pacific Alliance.