Israel has been granted observer status in the Pacific Alliance, an economic trade organization of several major Latin and Central American countries, the Prime Minister’s Office announced on Tuesday. The final decision was made Monday evening at a summit in Cartagena, Colombia.
The Pacific Alliance member states are Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, all countries with major coastlines along the Pacific ocean. The group aims to build “deep economic integration,” promote “larger growth, development and competitiveness” and ”become a platform for political articulation and economic and trade integration” among member countries.
“As an observer state, Israel will be invited to take part in the staff work of the Pacific Alliance and attend its conferences, which will facilitate the advancement of cooperation with its member states,” the PMO said in a press release.
Israeli exports to the Pacific Alliance countries currently amount to $864 million, around 1 percent of its total exports, but the government hopes that Israel’s new status will be an aid in increasing that figure. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled, within the next few months, to visit Colombia and Mexico in order to promote Israel’s economic role in the region.
“I thank the leaders of the Pacific Alliance member states for accepting Israel as an observer to the important organization that they head. This is an additional step in ensuring the continued growth of the Israeli economy. We are diversifying the State of Israel’s international markets,” Netanyahu said Tuesday.
In becoming an observer state, Israel joins 24 other countries, including economic powerhouses such as the US, China and Japan, a host of Latin American countries, and several European countries including Spain and Germany. The only other Middle Eastern observer state is Turkey.