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Cablegate: Latin American Arc of Pacific Countries Affirm

VZCZCXYZ0025
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSG #0906/01 2831242
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 091242Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3791
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0258
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 2112
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0149
RUEHGT/AMEMBASSY GUATEMALA 0343
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 5715
RUEHMU/AMEMBASSY MANAGUA 0129
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO 1242
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA 0330
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 1928
RUEHSJ/AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE 0892
RUEHSN/AMEMBASSY SAN SALVADOR 0284
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0197
RUEHTG/AMEMBASSY TEGUCIGALPA 0158
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0256

UNCLAS SANTIAGO 000906

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ETRD PGOV PREL CI
SUBJECT: LATIN AMERICAN ARC OF PACIFIC COUNTRIES AFFIRM
ASIAN AFFINITY

REF: SANTIAGO 878

------
Summary
-------

1. (U) The Fourth Ministerial of the Latin American Arc of
the Pacific concluded October 3 with a reaffirmation that Arc
countries should strengthen ties with Asian counterparts on
the other side of the Pacific, so as to diversify opportunity
and reduce risk "such as that represented by the current
grave financial crisis." The "Declaration of Santiago" also
welcomed further integration between Asian and Latin American
economies. Arc countries will work to promote a common image
in order to attract potential investment to the region. The
Arc intends to institutionalize its work and will hold its
next ministerial in Panama in March 2009. Arc Chiefs of
State will also meet on the margins of the upcoming
Ibero-American Summit in El Salvador. End summary.

2. (U) E/Pol Counselor met October 7 with Andres Rebolledo,
Director of the MFA's Office for Bilateral Economic Affairs.
for a readout on the October 2-3 Fourth Ministerial meeting
of the Latin American Arc of Pacific countries. Rebolledo had
offered the meeting the previous week after a meeting to
preview the Ministerial's objectives (reftel).

--------------------
The Arc's Asian Tint
--------------------

3. (U) Rebolledo said the meetings had been largely
successful in introducing the Arc to Asian partners and
giving it the "tinto" (color) that was intended to underpin
the Arc's raison d'etre. Ministerial participation (Foreign
Ministers and Ministers of Trade/Commerce) from Arc countries
had been at "sixty to seventy percent" and they had engaged
in very useful discussions with Asian invitees (from Japan,
China, Korea, and Australia). Perhaps the most important
accomplishment had been agreement to promote Arc countries as
a "single entity" that could attract foreign investment to
Latin America and its 580 million inhabitants. To that end,
the Arc had established a website (www.arcodelpacifico.org)
which would be used to further regional integration and
project a common image to Asian countries. Rebolledo
stressed that the Arc would coordinate closely with
international financial and development organizations, such
as the IDB and ECLAC, and draw on their expertise to further
Arc goals.

4. (U) Rebolledo also listed as a key accomplishment a
proposed meeting of the Arc's Heads of State in El Salvador,
on the margins of the October 2008 Ibero-American Summit;
this meeting would provide impetus to the Arc's
institutionalization. The location and timing of the next
Ministerials (Panama in March 2009 and Guatemala in early
2010) had also been agreed. Rebolledo emphasized that the
Arc is intended to be an "open forum" for exchange of ideas.

5. (U) E/Pol Counselor asked about press reports that FM
Foxley had claimed that Doha Round failings - "caused
principally by the U.S. and Europe" - had led Arc countries
to seek alternative trade mechanisms. Rebellodo said Foxley,
whom he had been standing next to during his remarks to the
press, had simply stated that Arc countries were joined in
common interest to free trade and that (unnamed) countries
"not interested" would be left behind. Rebolledo also denied
press reports that the U.S. had asked for observor status (it
had not) and been denied.

-------
Comment
-------

6. (SBU) Originally proposed by Peru, the Arc has been
vigorously promoted by Chile, consistent with Foxley's view

that Chile's future - at least commercially - lies with Asia.
But careful to nod to President Bachelet's Latin American
vocation, Foxley seems perfectly willing to bring along with
him those Latin American countries who share his vision, even
if it entails the establishment of another organization that
duplicates some functions of existing groups such as APEC.
Post will fax a copy of the Declaration of Santiago to
WHA/BSC. End comment.
SIMONS

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