SANTIAGO, April 8 (Xinhua) -- Chile's Foreign Minister, Heraldo Munoz, highlighted on Saturday the "concrete steps" of the integration "roadmap" approved in Buenos Aires between regional trade blocs the Pacific Alliance and Southern Common Market (Mercosur).
Speaking from Buenos Aires, Munoz commented that the roadmap gives a "qualitative jump" forward from the last summit between both blocs in 2014 which produced "no major results."
Chile, which currently holds Pacific Alliance's rotating presidency, has been calling for greater integration between the two South American trade blocs for a number of years.
The Estrategia de Santiago daily reported that Munoz said trade between EU members represents 69 percent of the area's trade. In comparison, intra-bloc trade only represents 18 percent of the Latin America total.
"There is still a long way to go. Trade between the Pacific Alliance and Mercosur is around 34 billion U.S. dollars in 2016. We could do much more," said Munoz.
The minister commented that "the regional scenario has greatly improved. Today, we are in tune to move forward in a far more substantive manner with this roadmap."
Munoz added that the roadmap was "an important milestone in Latin American integration" as it saw both blocs committed to move ahead with integration "when there is international uncertainty and certain protectionist and nationalist, even xenophobic, tendencies can be seen."
A joint declaration by both blocs spoke of a multilateral trading system, and that new cooperation would take place on customs, trade promotion, helping small and medium enterprises, and identifying potential regional value chains.