Costa Rica on Thursday received approval to join the Pacific Alliance, a Latin America trade bloc that represents 36 percent of Latin America’s gross domestic product. Casa Presidencial announced on its website that all member countries – Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru – voted in favor of Costa Rica’s entry.
Chile’s Sebastián Piñera, Colombia’s Juan Manuel Santos, Mexico’s Enrique Peña Nieto and Ollanta Humala from Peru approved Costa Rica’s request during the group’s assembly held in Cali, Colombia.
Earlier this week, President Santos said that Costa Rica was just “one step” from entering the forum, referring to the signing of a free trade agreement with Colombia that was signed on Wednesday afternoon.
With the completion of the trade agreement, Costa Rica met its last requirement of having trade agreements with all four founding countries. Together, the population of member countries totals 210 million people and accounts for 55 percent of all trade in Latin America.
President Laura Chinchilla confirmed membership on her Facebook account, saying, “I confirm that Costa Rica has been welcomed to begin the process of joining the Alliance Pacific. First nation [to join] after the founding group,” the president wrote.
The Pacific Alliance is a trade forum that seeks to boost business development through the elimination of protectionist trade policies, export quotas and tariffs.
The meeting was also attended by Guatemala’s President Otto Pérez Molina, Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and officials from Japan, Australia and New Zealand.