Latin America Bucking Global Protectionist Trend, Ministers Say

  • Finance chiefs see region’s economic integration continuing
  • Pacific Alliance to help region face ‘wave of protectionism’

Latin American nations will press ahead with effort to integrate their economies and won’t fall victim to the growing protectionist trend in developed countries, finance ministers said.

The Pacific Alliance pact between Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru to integrate their economies will support growth in the region as isolationist trends take hold in Europe and the U.S., Colombian Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas said on a panel at a World Bank event in Washington.

Originally formed in response to the commodity bust, the Pacific Alliance program to remove restrictions on trade and capital flows will also help their economies in the face of a “wave of protectionism” represented by Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, said Cardenas. Argentine Finance Minister Alfonso Prat-Gay, said deepening economic integration in Latin America is bolstered by language and cultural ties, adding Argentina hopes to join the Pacific Alliance.

“This is a lesson we can start giving the world as we integrate more,” Prat-Gay said.

Prat-Gay joked that he looked forward to joining a WhatsApp chat that the finance ministers within the Pacific Alliance use to comment on policy developments in their countries.

“Once I get there it will be a good sign,” he said.

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