LatAm trade ministers express concern over protectionism

Added On July 24, 2018

    PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico, July 23 (Xinhua) -- A return to trade protectionism led by the United States could cause serious risks for the global economy, Latin American trade ministers attending the fifth Business Meeting of the Pacific Alliance in Mexico on Monday said.

   Mexico's Minister of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo said the "profound change" coming from Washington obliges other countries to assume new responsibilities for ensuring free trade. "We always expect that these swings in strategy are temporary, but we would be fooling ourselves," he added.
   Otherwise, there could be serious consequences for the most vulnerable populations. "No one suffers more from closed economies than the poor," Guajardo said.
   Colombian Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism Maria Lorena Gutierrez said the world is facing "the most complicated moment in its trade history."
   "There is a clear protectionist trend mixed with a certain populism," she added.
   The consequences, if this trend continued, would be more conflict, not only in trade but also in economic and social matters, including vital aspects like security, she said.
   Gutierrez also expressed concern that the efforts made to create multilateral organizations like the World Trade Organization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development could be lost.
   However, Peru's Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism, Roger Valencia, suggested the current trade conflict begun by the United States could be temporary. He underlined the importance of the bloc to make joint efforts under such circumstances.
   "The Pacific Alliance was born out of necessity and the discovery that the power we have is in working together and integrating ourselves," he said.
   Chile's Director General of International Economic Relations, Rodrigo Yanez, said it is important for the Pacific Alliance nations to look toward other zones, including the Asia-Pacific region, an obligatory step in consolidating trade with this region.
   The Pacific Alliance, created in April 2011, is made up of Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, and has more than 50 observer states.
   The Latin American trade bloc represents the fifth most populated subregion in the world with approximately 223 million people, and contributes 38 percent of the Latin American and Caribbean gross domestic product.  Enditem