News from the SECO / WTI Academic Cooperation Project
PhD candidate and WTI/SECO researcher Rodrigo Polanco is organising a conference with WTI Director of External Programmes Pierre Sauvé on the achievements of the Pacific Alliance that came into being three years ago. It will be held in Colombia on 19-20 November.
The event is a joint initiative by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and partner institution Externado University of Colombia, and the costs will be equally shared. The two-day conference will be hosted by Externado in Bogotá.
The WTI and the Faculty of Law of Externado University signed a Memorandum of Understanding on academic and research cooperation in October 2014. The conference is the first fruit of that cooperation.
The Pacific Alliance (PA) is a regional integration initiative whose members are Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile. Its goal is economic integration, and a gradual move towards the free circulation of goods, services, capital and persons.
It is currently in a process of expansion, with Costa Rica and Panama applying for admission.
Growing regional integration
“This is a growing regional integration effort,” commented Rodrigo Polanco. “Interest for this type of integration is such that there are many foreign observer states, and one of the first of these was Switzerland.”
He described the aims of the conference as being to make the PA better known outside Latin America, and to enable participants from other regional trade blocs, e.g. ASEAN and the EU, to contribute their experience and advice.
Rodrigo Polanco said the idea for the conference was first mooted in discussions on the sidelines of the SIEL international law conference in Bern in July 2014. Subsequently the Colombian Ambassador to the WTO, Gabriel Duque, was invited to speak at the WTI in October on ‘The Pacific Alliance: The Future of Economic Integration’.
Duque described the PA then as “more than a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). It is an innovative integration platform, to pursue economic growth and development as well as enhance the competitiveness of its Member countries.”
The conference organisers have issued a call for papers, with a deadline of 30 June. A selection of papers in English is expected to be published in book form after the event.