Address by Minister Baird at Fourth Presidential Summit of Pacific Alliance

June 6, 2012 - Cerro Paranal, Chile

Check Against Delivery

On behalf of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and all Canadians, let me first say how pleased Canada is to be invited to this summit.

The Prime Minister asked me to express his sincere regret at being unable to attend in person.

President Piñera [Sebastián Piñera, President of Chile], you have chosen a spectacular location to host us.

It is a fitting place for our countries to look forward and plan for the future—a future that promises the continued rise of Asia and the growing importance of regional alliances like this one.

The formation of new trading blocs and new partnerships holds great promise for all of our countries.

We believe this alliance [Pacific Alliance] can create prosperity in the Americas and opportunity throughout the Pacific.

As both a Pacific nation and a country of the Americas, Canada has been following this positive initiative with great interest.

Canada already has free trade agreements with all Pacific Alliance member countries and with observer Costa Rica.

We are in the process of ratifying another trade agreement with observer Panama. And we welcome the opportunity to explore even deeper trade ties with each of you.

Prime Minister Harper declared in 2007 that our government would make closer ties with our neighbours in the Americas a priority in our trade agenda. We have done so.

By working even more closely together, in a spirit of close collaboration and of true partnership, we can make the most of the opportunities the current global rebalancing presents.

We can ensure we continue to focus on getting results.

And we can look forward to a brighter, more prosperous future for our peoples.

I look forward to today’s discussions.

Thank you.