In dialogue with Gestion.pe, the general secretary of the DOGJorge Hernando Pedraza, explained that the Andean Community is in a process of reengineering and modernization, determined by Decision 903, to create the “conditions that allow it to assume the challenges of a post-pandemic world and new economic and social correlations and thus further strengthen the Andean citizen as the central axis and fundamental vision of its actions”.
Parallel to this strengthening and updating of the CAN, Pedraza He stressed that during his tenure, a series of programs have been developed, such as the release of harmful charges for international roaming calls. This implies that a person in Peru can call Colombia, Ecuador or Bolivia without any additional fee. “It is a benefit for 112 million Andean citizens through the use of telephony in 4.5 million square kilometers of our jurisdiction”, he indicated.
Other projects include the implementation of a Regional Phytosanitary Intelligence Center (crifcan) and the development of the Community Interoperability Project ‘Intercom’ which will allow the exchange of customs and foreign trade data between the computer systems of the four countries. “Our customs will be able to coordinate in real time and thus mitigate many effects that generate high costs for trade, resulting in fewer procedures and more surveillance and control, that is, more competitiveness”.
“Also, we have a Andean Migration Status that will allow the integrality of the citizenry and the mobility of our communities so that a citizen can go from one country to another and even exercise labor faculties like any compatriot with temporary residence and also permanent residence”, stressed Pedraza.
Reinforcements in sight?
On the adherence of new members to the bloc, specifically Chili, Venezuela Y Argentinathe secretary general commented that the first two would be close to sealing their re-entry, while “Argentina really doesn’t have much of a foothold”. As recalled, Chile, the founding country of the DOGleft the group in 1976 arguing “economic incompatibilities”, while Venezuela withdrew in 2006 as a sign of rejection of the FTAs signed by Peru and Colombia with the United States.
“Our presidents on August 29 spoke about the issue of expanding membership and they have mentioned Chile and Venezuela to me. The entry of these countries seems very close, naturally once a series of regulatory rigors and also trade adjustment issues and animal and plant health issues are met.”, explained the 59-year-old former Colombian senator.
“It is an issue that falls exclusively to the decision of the highest instance that we have, which is the Andean Presidential Council. I can define this in two stages: one is the political decision that corresponds to our heads of state and the will of the states that express their desire to be members of the Andean Community; and second, it is the part of technical harmonization of all aspects that must be met when these countries enter with the 903 decisions that we have in force today on different matters”, he added.
Peru takes the baton
In his last year in office, Jorge Hernando Pedraza He reiterated his commitment to work closely with the Peruvian Government, in charge of the Pro Tempore Presidency of the CAN since August 2022, when Pedro Castillo was still president of the country. “In the midst of the difficulties that have occurred here, we are always in contact with the government that exercises the presidency pro tempore. President Dina Boluarte, In a new document, he wanted to prioritize social issues where the Andean citizen is the ultimate goal of our action, which is, after all, part of the Cartagena Agreement.”, he detailed.
With regard to the announced reengineering of the CAN, Peru has also proposed strengthening the bloc’s international relations, especially with the European Union, as well as prioritizing the climate agenda to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and promote innovation, new technologies and digital transformation in various areas of the organization. “Without these two structures, the human being will not be successful in the future, no matter where he is on the planet.”, said Pedraza, stressing that the Boluarte administration has placed a lot of emphasis on social and gender issues.
New ‘Andean Paths’
In the words of the general secretary of the CAN, a fundamental part of the Andean wealth is its “exuberance” in landscapes and nature, which is sought to be promoted through the project called Caminos Andinos. “Its purpose is to put unusual destinations on the world tourism agenda, for example, Peru is not just Machu Picchu, nor is the Galapagos Islands Ecuador.. This project aims to promote other routes so that millions of Asians, North Americans and Europeans come to visit us and of course generate income that allows us to improve the social conditions of our Andean citizens and make tourism a spiral of economic recovery in these times”.
Posed since the recent pro tempore presidency of Ecuador, the project will allow the financing of a regional tourism brand, the launch of the product, the creation of a microsite and the promotion of routes identified by each country: in Bolivia the routes of Lake Titicaca, of the Sajama, that of the Salar de Uyuni and Laguna de Colores; in Colombia there is the Leyenda El Dorado route and the Binational route (Pasto, Colombia- Ibarra, Ecuador); in Ecuador the Andean Network of Community Tourism, which contains the sections: Chocó Andino, Andes Centrales and Andes Sur; and Unexplored Ecuador, with the destinations of Quito, Cayambe, Ibarra, Otavalo, Espejo, Cotacachi; and in Peru two routes were identified, the Moche and Pisco, together with the destinations of Amazonas, Ancash, Ayacucho, Arequipa and San Martín.
China displaces the US
Regarding commercial ties with the world, Pedraza recalled that in 2021 the main destination of exports from member countries was China with a share of 19.3% of the total (more than US$ 136,000 million), followed by the United States with 18.5% and the European Union with 11.8%. “For the first time, the Andean Community has a greater concentration of business with China. It has been surprising for everyone even though it is a dynamic that has been taking place in the world. We have the vocation of being the food pantry of the planet”, remarked.
Lastly, Secretary General Jorge Pedraza reaffirmed the support of the DOG to the key work of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), which represent 90% of the business organization and 60% of the employment generated in the block. “Everything we’ve talked about goes to them. Through the decisions of the CAN, there is always a priority to stimulate and strengthen MSMEs in all aspects so that we can export more. If we export more, we have more income, there is more redistribution, there is more employment capacity, and of course an improvement in the social order for the general well-being of Andean citizens.”, he concluded.
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