Good morning, Mr. Chair, and members of this committee.
Thank you for your kind invitation. It is a pleasure to be here to talk about a very important topic: the study of a potential agreement between Canada and the Pacific Alliance.
Peru considers that the Pacific Alliance has to frame its efforts in compliance with the 2013 sustainable development goals in order to allow its members to efficiently immerse themselves in the globalized world. In this sense, the regional integrational mechanism's vision is to promote initiatives that combat poverty through strategies that favour economic growth and target various social needs like education, health, employment, climate change, and the protection of the environment, along with strengthening its international projection.
The Pacific Alliance should make efforts to consolidate itself as a mechanism of integration that promotes commercial openness, growth, and competitiveness, as well as the protection of fundamental liberties. In this sense, Peru considers that the 2030 vision should have in mind four components.
One, building an area of deep integration. The four liberties that seek this mechanism—goods, services, capital, and persons—should help position the Pacific Alliance as an active participant and a solid partner in the region, consolidating itself as an investment and commercial hub and as a mechanism integrated in the global economy. The Pacific Alliance exhibits distinctive characteristics, specially linked with the observance of rules and of international institutions, as well as compliance with the rule of law, democracy, respect for human rights, and, as stated in article 2 of the framework agreement, the separation of powers. The Pacific Alliance should generate confidence and advance its international reputation through the construction of strategic alliances with countries and regions that lead to economic and social development in the world.
Two, a bridge to the Asia-Pacific. Taking advantage of the participation of its members in various integration schemes and their diverse geographical features, the Pacific Alliance aspires to become an important bridge—economic and commercial, cultural and political—between Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region through mechanisms of co-operation between regions.
Three, international projection. The Pacific Alliance will promote tangible results in accordance with sustainable development goals. It is expected that it will provide pragmatic answers and solutions to world problems. In this sense, it will work in the design of mutually beneficial actions with new associate members and other global actors such as ASEAN the EU, and APEC, as well as with regional mechanisms that could help the alliance to attain its objectives.
Four, a tool for increased well-being. The Pacific Alliance is focused on coordinating efforts that have a direct effect on civil society—attaining better social welfare and overcoming economic inequality. The Canadian economy, with its ample and diverse natural resources, has a structure similar to that of Peru, in which the mining, energy, and forestry industries stand out. Canada has been successful in transferring developments in these industries to other industries such as communications, energy, transport infrastructure, and financial services. Moreover, Canada is now positioned as one of Peru's major mining investors, distinguishing itself by the active participation of private companies in projects with a social development component, projects that are having a positive impact in our rural communities. In this context, the Pacific Alliance, and Peru in particular, can profit from Canada's experience in how to use natural resources as a stimulating agent of the economy.
Canada is an active observer state that has a privileged relationship with the Pacific Alliance, backed by the Joint Declaration on a Partnership between Canada and the Members of the Pacific Alliance, signed in 2016, which established a specific agenda on co-operation. In that framework, a series of co-operative projects is being implemented, accounting for more than $18 million U.S. in areas like education and skills in extractive industries, small and medium-sized enterprises, and the environment.
The next step identified by the alliance to deepen its relations with this important partner has been the negotiation of a high-standard agreement that deepens commercial and economic relations between Canada and Pacific Alliance members. Such an agreement will allow Canada to become an associated state in the Pacific Alliance.
Peru is a long-time partner of Canada, having a free trade agreement that entered into force in August 2009, among other important international conventions. Both countries are also part of those that have concluded the negotiations on TPP-11. These two agreements are a milestone in the integration process that the Pacific Alliance countries want to establish with Canada and with the rest of candidate countries that are interested in becoming associated states.
In that sense, it was natural for the Pacific Alliance to reinforce areas where there is already co-operation with Canada and to search for new commercial opportunities and diversified markets. This is the added value that our countries wish to attain in the negotiations that are being held with Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Singapore. Two rounds of negotiations have already been held in Cali, Colombia and Gold Coast, Australia, while the third is expected to be carried out in Santiago, Chile, and the fourth round in Ottawa.
In these negotiations, Peru and its Pacific Alliance partners wish to build on the commercial agreements signed in order to reap tangible benefits for society as a whole.
Apart from the commercial impact and the consolidation and projection of the Pacific Alliance as one of the most dynamic regions in the Asia Pacific, the relationship with its associate members will allow it to connect to four of the world's top 10 most innovative ecosystems in terms of science, technology, and innovation.
In this process, communications with the private sector and civil society will be of great importance for the advancement of the negotiations between the Pacific Alliance and its associate states.
Each free trade agreement constitutes an opportunity to improve, even for a country like Peru, which, as has been said, links its foreign policy with compliance to the 2030 sustainable development goals. In that sense, the negotiations with the candidate states are a tool that should contribute to fighting poverty; benefit the most vulnerable sectors within them, such as small and medium-sized enterprises, and indigenous people; and provide equal opportunities for women and men, among others.
Thank you very much.