Latin America, Europe eye free trade alliance
By Gerard Aziakou, AFPSANTIAGO -- European and Latin American leaders pledged here Saturday to shun protectionism and boost their strategic partnership to foster free trade.
January 28, 2013, 11:50 am TWN
Some 60 countries are represented at the summit between the 27-member European Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, or CELAC.
Set up in Caracas in December 2011 at the behest of Venezuela, CELAC groups all nations from across the Americas except the United States and Canada and aims to boost regional trade and integration.
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, the two-day summit's host, opened the session with a call for a new “strategic alliance to achieve sustainable development.”
And indeed participants unanimously adopted a summit statement extolling their “strategic partnership to achieve sustainable development.”
They also reiterated their commitment “to avoid protectionism in all its forms” and to “favor an open and nondiscriminatory, rules-based multilateral trade system.”
“We firmly reject all coercive measures of unilateral character with extraterritorial effect that are contrary to international law and the commonly accepted rules of free trade,” the statement said.
The leaders also pledged to continue working together “toward a new international financial architecture.”
And they backed concrete actions to bolster law enforcement cooperation “to dismantle criminal organizations, all within the full respect of human rights and international law.”
There was also support for the convening of a special U.N. General Assembly session on the global drug problem.
The leaders also gave a nod to “the universality and indivisibility of human rights as laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”