The CEO of International CEOE and permanent secretary of CEIB, Narciso Casado, participated today in the V Ibero-American Meeting on the Pacific Alliance in Quito, Ecuador, to analyze this process in the context of regional integration, investments and Commerce. During the event, organized by the Iberoamerican Business Foundation and the Chamber of Industries and Production, in collaboration with CEOE, the Chamber of Commerce of Spain and the embassies of Spain in Ecuador and Ecuador in our country, the chancellor of the Republic of Ecuador, José Valencia, and several ministers of the Ecuadorian government, including Foreign Trade, Iván Ontaneda. The event was closed by the Minister of Economy and Finance of Ecuador, Richard Martínez.
The president of the Chamber of Industries and Production of Quito, Pablo Zambrano, also participated in the conference; the president of the Iberoamericana Empresarial Foundation, Josep Piqué; the executive president of the Chamber of Industries of Guayaquil, Caterina Costa; the former Minister of Production, Foreign Trade, Investments and Fisheries of Ecuador, Pablo Campana; the former minister of the government of Spain, Ramón Escolano; and the top representatives of the main companies in the Region.
During the panel on the Pacific Alliance in the context of regional integration, investment and trade, Narciso Casado, the manager of AYASA and a member of the Private Business Committee of the Pacific Alliance, Nicolás Espinosa; the general manager of Nestlé Ecuador, Virginia Matos de Barría; the former spokesman of the Socialist Group in the Congress of Deputies, Antonio Hernando Vera; and the former minister of the government of Spain, Román Escolano. The table was modernized by the vice president of FIE and former minister of the Spanish government, Trinidad Jiménez.
In his speech, Narciso Casado stressed that since the Declaration of Lima (2011), which marks the birth of regional integration between Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Chile, significant progress has been made in relation to goods, services, people and capital. “The advances have been significant in the liberalization of trade in goods, where more than 90% of the volume of these have been eliminated”Stressed Casado. He also spoke of advances in other areas related to trade facilitation, regulatory cooperation, technical barriers to trade, capital market integration or transparency of public procurement markets, among many others.
The director of CEOE International explained that in the countries of the Pacific Alliance, policies aimed at labor mobility have also been developed with different degrees and approaches, although there is still great development potential. He informed that in countries such as Germany and Canada, geographical labor mobility is an important engine of the economy, acting as a key factor for sustained economic growth, since not only are there flows of goods or capital, but of people, for which, as the president of ANDI, Bruce Mac Master, affirmed, "labor mobility is the deepest form of integration." Casado highlighted that efforts have not only been limited to improving market access conditions, but also to empowering SMEs, supporting entrepreneurs, promoting innovation, promoting infrastructure development or combating climate change and preserve the environment, moving towards an economy, among other factors.
Future of the Pacific Alliance
The CEO of International CEOE pointed out that the integration process is ambitious and is reflected in the Strategic Vision of the Pacific Alliance 2030. The objective, Casado explained, is to create a free trade area that integrates the American countries from the slope of the Pacific and the main economies of Asia-Pacific. Another goal is to create a commercial area that would incorporate ten new countries in the Pacific Rim. To achieve this objective, according to Casado, it has been decided to create the status of an associated country. “Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore (Declaration of Cali 2017), South Korea (Declaration of Puerto Vallarta 2018) and Ecuador (Declaration of Lima 2019) have already been invited to begin their respective accession negotiations in quality from partner countries ”, reported. In this way, he continued, the Pacific Alliance wants to establish itself as one of the main regional blocks of Asia-Pacific and among the countries that are part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC).
Integration of Ecuador in the Pacific Alliance
Casado said that the incorporation of Ecuador reinforces the block of Latin American countries, by incorporating the last South American country with a Pacific slope to this group and, thus, guaranteeing a geographical connectivity from southern Chile to Colombia, which, together with Mexico, constitutes The main access road to Central America. In addition, he said, accession is due to the imperative need for Ecuador, together with the rest of the countries in the area, to reach a larger market, in order to improve its negotiating position vis-à-vis other commercial blocks, to adapt its institutional and regulatory frameworks within from a set of countries and allow their companies to grow and gain more competitiveness through their internationalization. Ecuador may also, he added, benefit from some of the instruments available to the Pacific Alliance, such as the Pacific Alliance Business Council (CEAP), which helps strengthen business cooperation between companies in the five countries.
From CEIB it was emphasized that the Pacific Alliance attracts a significant part of the investments destined to the entire region. In fact, he informed, in 2017 the member countries received 24.4% of the total foreign direct investment (FDI) issued in Latin America and the Caribbean (237.154 billion dollars), which represents 11.34% of FDI World in that year. Casado said that businessmen value in a very positive way the close collaboration between the Pacific Alliance with the OECD, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Andean Financial Corporation (CAF), to improve the institutional and regulatory environment, as well as to define investment programs, funds and financing instruments that boost investment in the countries that make up the Pacific Alliance.
On the other hand, Casado stressed the importance of structuring participatory democracy to legitimize the regional integration process. In fact, he said that CEIB can support the Pacific Alliance and provide new ideas and initiatives that reinforce cooperation between the four founding countries, as it represents the most significant business organizations in the Latin American area.
Spain, observer member
From Quito, the CEO of International CEOE stressed that Spain was the first European observer country in the Pacific Alliance. In fact, he pointed out that in 2017 he signed a joint declaration with the Alliance to strengthen bilateral cooperation in fields such as science and public-private partnerships. Casado also reviewed the investments that Spain has received from other countries of the European Union and the advantages it brought to our country belong to the largest common market in the world, adapting institutions and regulations to European standards and modernizing our infrastructure.
During her visit to Quito, Narciso Casado held a meeting with the president of the Chamber of Industries of Guayaquil (CIG), Caterina Acosta and agreed with Ecuadorian government authorities, such as Foreign Trade Minister Iván Ontaneda. The Director of CEOE International took the opportunity to inform them of the initiatives that are being carried out from CEIB, such as support for young Latin American entrepreneurs and, together with SEGIB, in the field of open innovation.
In this regard, he highlighted the important role of business organizations in the integration process of the Pacific Alliance and highlighted the important task of CEIB, the employers' Europa BusinessEurope and the great OIE platform. Finally, Casado held a meeting with representatives of the Ibero-American Federation of Young Entrepreneurs (FIJE) to discuss CEIB's initiatives in this area and future perspectives in the Region.
The permanent secretary of CEIB will travel today to Panama City, the last stop of his visit to Latin America, to participate tomorrow in the Conference “International experiences in innovation”. The event will bring together leaders in innovation and technology, academics and representatives of the public and private sector of the region, who will discuss the importance of innovation management as a catalyst for productive development. In addition, relevant international experiences from different sectors will be presented. The event is organized by CAF, the Development Bank of Latin America.