Latin America is Open for Business, Trade Ministers Tell International Leaders Meeting in Buenos Aires

07 Apr 2017

Alem Tedeneke, Media Manager, World Economic Forum; Tel.: +1 646 204 9191, Email:

· Pacific Alliance and Mercosur trade ministers want closer integration on trade and investment

· Trade agreements need to be adapted to evolving economies and technologies

· For more information on the meeting:

Buenos Aires, Argentina, 7 April 2017 – Trade ministers from Pacific Alliance and Mercosur regional groups speaking at the World Economic Forum on Latin America told participants that better regional integration is essential, and that the region “needs to move beyond trade” to include more investment among countries.

“We must send the world a message that we need to be more liberal, more open and have more trade,” Marcos Pereira, Minister of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services, Brazil, said.

Earlier this week Mercosur trade ministers convened for the first time in 25 years, vowing to “open up to alignments”, the minister said.

“Without trade, everyone loses,” he added. Following political changes in the United States and Europe, including the election of Donald Trump and the Brexit vote, “we need to inject more oxygen into Mercosur and no doubt the conversation we will start today with the Pacific Alliance will be essential”.

María Claudia Lacouture, Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism, Colombia, said “the biggest tectonic plates moving are how we can cooperate and work on relations jointly with others”.

But if that’s to happen, much more progress is needed. Arancha Gonzalez Laya, Executive Director, International Trade Centre, said that discrepancies still exist in trade regulations and their governing institutions.

“Trade today is in the 21st century, while rules were made in the 20th century and its narrative is stuck in the 19th century.”

Jeffery McElfresh, President, DIRECTV Latin America, AT&T, added that there was a risk that countries in the region were focusing too much on tying trade rules to products, which quickly evolve and become outdated. He also cautioned that lengthy trade talks can outlast the development of certain products.

More than 1,000 participants are taking part in the 12th World Economic Forum on Latin America in Buenos Aires, Argentina from 5 to 7 April 2017. The theme of the meeting is “Fostering Development and Entrepreneurship in the Fourth Industrial Revolution”.

The Co-Chairs of the World Economic on Latin America are: Asheesh Advani, President and Chief Executive Officer, JA Worldwide, USA; Hans-Paul Bürkner, Chairman, The Boston Consulting Group, USA; Patricia Espinosa Cantellano, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Germany; Alejandro P. Bulgheroni, Chairman Bridas Corporation, Argentina; Marcos Bulgheroni, Executive Director, Pan American Energy LLC, Argentina; and Eduardo S. Elsztain, Chairman, IRSA Inversiones y Representaciones, Argentina.

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