July 21, 2019
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Pacific Alliance formally declares war on single-use plastic

Lima, Jul 6 (efe-epa).- Countries of the Pacific Alliance formally declared war this Saturday on single-use plastic and promised to promote and give the utmost attention to the fight against pollution and in favor of recycling and the circular economy.

That is the content of a declaration signed in Lima by the presidents of the bloc made up of Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru at the close of their 14th Presidential Summit, which stated once again their commitment to comply with the objectives of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with which the Alliance has aligned its strategic vision for the control of waste.

The presidents stated their concern about "the growing creation, dispersion and accumulation of plastic and microplastic residues in the environment" and their will to prevent "the negative impacts" such materials cause "on all ecosystems, including the oceans."

To that end, the Pacific Alliance vowed to "develop and implement global, regional, national and local" policies and strategies to promote the integral management of plastics throughout their life cycle, reduce their use and presence and "move forward toward a circular economy," in which that material is seen as reusable rather than disposable.

Colombian Environment Minister Ricardo Lozano said in a statement to the press before revealing the document that, with its declaration, the bloc "sets an example for humanity" on how to deal with threats to the environment.

"That is very important to emphasize. Now all of us together - Mexico, Chile, Peru, Colombia and now Ecuador - we commit ourselves to this agenda of fairness, of consumer responsibility, about the use of plastics, of being more aware of what we're doing to the ocean, of what we do in our homes, of what we do to the ground, the ecosystems we share...that is why we make this declaration," he said.

Countries of the alliance thus aim to promote "innovative solutions" to regulate the production and use of plastic and create "regional, national and local public policies" to encourage respect for nature and "transform values and practices."

As for practical applications of this accord, the Alliance plans to take action that "discourages the demand and use" of single-use plastic products, limits or prohibits the use of such products in natural protected areas, and promotes "more sustainable alternatives."

The production and rational use of reusable, recyclable products that do not contaminate while laying down regulations geared to reduce pollution and strengthen awareness, plus teaching the responsible management of plastic products, will be other policies promoted by the Pacific Alliance. EFE-EPA amr/cd

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International situation threatens Pacific Alliance success formula

David Blanco Bonilla

Lima, Jul 6 (efe-epa).- The trade dispute between the United States and China has sparked concern among organizations such as the Pacific Alliance, who see it as a threat to their success formula in recent years, based on trade exchange and preferential attention to businessmen.

The alliance, representing the world's eighth largest economy - accounting for 40 percent of regional exports and 40 percent of the GDP of the region -, has not escaped the impact of the trade war, especially given that both the US and China are major partners of Peru and Chile, who, along with Colombia and Mexico, make up the Pacific Alliance.

Despite having better economic figures than other Latin American countries, the bloc has suffered a hit in its exports, even though Mexico has benefited from a new trade agreement with the US and Canada, along with a tariff agreement with its northern neighbor.

The Inter-American Development Bank's Institute for the Integration of Latin America and the Caribbean head Pablo Garcia revealed in June the alliance's exports had gone from more than nine percent in 2018 to a mere 0.3 percent in the first quarter of this year.

This scenario affects a group that has made considerable progress since its creation in 2011, and has already completed all "first-wave" reforms, which included trade agreements and similar economic policies, as well as the reduction of physical barriers to allow free transit of people.

"What the first-stage reforms have done is facilitate investment. We have very important cross-investments. The four of us have adapted the same pension fund systems, things that have helped us grow together and integrate," Peru's Alfonso Bustamante, who led the business council, told EFE.

For entrepreneurs, the alliance offers the possibility of "real" integration and allows access to larger markets, with similar regulatory harmonization and the possibility of their citizens being employed by any economy in the group.

Despite the emphasis on free trade and industry, the group believes that being an organization goes "beyond the inclusion of colors and positions of the right and left," as it considered that it was more important to generate added value, through private or public investment, to generate "real employment" and fight poverty.

In this regard, there is consensus that the progress made so far shows that the alliance's enormous potential, as its objective is to overcome the barriers among the four countries and provide goods and services to the world.

In this context, the presidents of the member states on Saturday, at the end of the group's 14th Summit, issued a joint declaration in support of free trade, rejecting all protectionist measures and recognizing the importance of World Trade Organization.

Free trade was described as a key tool and multilateralism as an essential element for development in the joint presidential declaration at the conclusion of the Pacific Alliance Summit.

Colombia's Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism, Jose Manuel Restrepo, said the alliance not only sought to vindicate the importance of multilateral systems, but also to offer "a response to the protectionist trend that has begun to appear in the world."

Looking into the immediate future, according to Peruvian Foreign Minister Nestor Popolizio comments to EFE during the summit, the alliance will work to increase its cooperation with other blocs and make improvements in public policy standards.

During the Lima summit, the alliance held meetings and signed agreements with Ecuador, South Korea, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore and Japan, as well as with the Eurasian Economic Commission and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development .

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