Avanzan negociaciones para constituir el Fondo de Cooperación de la Alianza del Pacífico

CooperaciónUna de las primeras tareas del Grupo Técnico Cooperación (GTC) de Alianza del Pacífico para 2013, es constituir Fondo Cooperación con que se financiará ejecución de proyectos y acciones de colaboración entre los cuatro países. El Fondo funcionaría a través de aportaciones financieras equitativas de las partes que lo conformen, así como de terceros, en áreas y modalidades definidas en el Acuerdo efectuado para constituirlo. Contará con reglamento operativo. A través de una videoconferencia, Perú traspasó Presidencia GTC a Chile conforme a sus Bases de Operación y rindió informe de su mandato. Grupo está formado por la Agencia Presidencial de Cooperación Internacional de Colombia y la Dirección de Cooperación Internacional del Ministerio Relaciones Exteriores de ese país; Agencia Cooperación Internacional de Chile (AGCI); Agencia Mexicana de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AMEXCID), y la Agencia Peruana de Cooperación Internacional. Hasta el momento, el GTC de la Alianza del Pacífico cuenta con 3 proyectos en ejecución: “Plataforma de Movilidad estudiantil y Académica”, “Proyecto Red Investigación Científica en materia Cambio Climático” y “Proyecto Micro y pequeña empresa (Mipymes) Competitividad”. Areas prioritarias de la Alianza: medio ambiente y cambio climático; innovación y ciencia-tecnología; micro, pequeñas, medianas empresas; desarrollo social, y otras. Proyectos en elaboración son: “Interconexión Física”, “Taller sobre Crecimiento verde”, “Propuesta Perfil sobre Asociaciones Público- Privadas”, “Taller sobre Gobernanza regulatoria” y “Acuerdo Cooperación en materia de Turismo”. Durante el enlace virtual se indicó que otros temas se están analizando: Pasantías en Empresas dentro de Plataforma de Movilidad; Propuesta de Perú sobre el Voluntariado Juvenil; Coordinaciones con el Consejo Empresarial de la Alianza del Pacífico para el GTC; Estrategia Comunicacional para que las 4 Agencias Cooperación difundan avances alcanzados en la Plataforma Movilidad Estudiantil y en Proyecto de Pymes. (AMEXCID – 31/01/2013)

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Canciller indio visitará Argentina, Colombia y Chile en febrero

Salman KhurshidComercio e inversiones en lo alto de la agenda, el ministro de Asuntos Exteriores de la India, Salman Khurshid, realizará una gira de 10 días por América Latina, compartidos entre Argentina, Colombia, Chile. Fuentes oficiales dijeron a la agencia de noticias IANS que a su regreso el jueves de Alemania y Bélgica, Salman Khurshid estará un día aquí y el sábado partirá hacia Suramérica con intención fomentar relaciones comerciales y de cooperación con la región, en particular con los tres citados países. Pendiente de los astronómicos intercambios comerciales entre América Latina y China, ya exceden 140 mil millones de dólares, la India mira con creciente atención hacia aquellas tierras, esperanzada en acrecentar las operaciones mutuas de compra-venta, actualmente en el orden de los 20 mil millones de dólares. Las fuentes no precisaron por dónde comenzará gira del canciller, ni los días que estará en cada país, pero sí recalcaron sus intereses. Firmantes de un acuerdo comercio preferencial, la India y Chile están cerca de formalizar una asociación económica, en la práctica equivale a un tratado libre comercio, lo cual les concedería, entre otras posibilidades, la de reducir o eliminar el pago de derechos aduanales y la doble tributación. Nueva Delhi, por otra parte, ha pedido a Santiago flexibilizar su régimen de visados a fin de facilitar movimiento profesionales y hombres de negocios. Ambos países aspiran a aumentar su cooperación en áreas como tecnología de la información, oceanografía, ciencia y tecnología, agricultura y agroindustria, procesamiento de alimentos, ingeniería e infraestructura. El comercio bilateral pasó de 1,9 mil millones en el año fiscal 2009-2010 a 2,6 mil millones en el ejercicio 2011-2012. Con Colombia, entre tanto, la India firmó en junio del año pasado acuerdo de protección y promoción de inversiones, y están negociando la evitación de la doble tributación con objetivo de aumentar la confianza de los inversores. Según las fuentes de IANS, hay un alto interés en recursos naturales colombianos como petróleo, carbón y minerales, vitales para los planes de desarrollo del gigante asiático. Bogotá, está interesada en beneficiarse de la fuerza y la experiencia de la India en tecnologías de la información, biotecnología e industria farmacéutica y fabricación de ferrocarriles. El comercio bilateral está rondando los 2.000 millones de dólares, casi cuatro veces más que 2007. Argentina está interesada en las posibilidades que ofrece la India en aquellos sectores y sus productos agroquímicos, cosméticos, adicionalmente ha pedido comprar tierras allí y cultivarlas. (Agencia Prensa Latina – 31/01/2013)

OECS and Argentine Republic Establish Formal Diplomatic Relations and Sign MOU on Cooperation

OECSOrganisation of Eastern Caribbean States and the Argentine Republic has established formal diplomatic relations + signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation. At a short ceremony on last January 15th 2013 at the OECS Secretariat, attended by the Diplomatic Corps and Senior Officials of the Organisation, newly appointed Ambassador of the Argentine Republic to the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, His Excellency Marcelo Aldo Salviolo presented his credentials to the Director General of the Organisation, Dr. Len Ishmael. In welcoming the Ambassador, Director General spoke of OECS desire “… to seek stronger development cooperation ties, to explore opportunities for greater South-South cooperation, investment and trade.” Director General further remarked “It is in this context that we seek to tap into the full potential of the OECS-Argentina relationship, a potential which has yet to be unlocked. Indeed, we believe the transformation of the OECS into an Economic Union has made our region ripe for stronger economic links with Argentina”. In his remarks, the Argentine Ambassador expressed his delight at being the first Ambassador of his country to be accredited to the OECS, and underlined Argentina’s desire “…to consolidate closer links with the Caribbean States.” He expressed the hope his appointment as Ambassador of Argentina to the OECS “…will help strengthen relations between this prestigious Caribbean Organisation and Argentina, in all the possible fields, whether political, trade, technical cooperation, humanitarian assistance or cultural”. In keeping with this sentiment, the Director General of the OECS and Argentine Ambassador signed a Memorandum of Understanding aiming to strengthen and promote cooperation and coordination between OECS and Argentina in a wide array of technical areas, including trade and investment, agriculture and fisheries, health, education and sport, information technology, and tourism, among others. Argentina is 11th country to have established formal diplomatic relations with OECS. (source: OECS – 31/01/2013)

La proliferación de los TLC mina el rol de la OMC

Herminio BlancoLa proliferación de Tratados de Libre Comercio (TLC) pone en peligro la viabilidad de la Organización Mundial de Comercio (OMC), afirmó Herminio Blanco, candidato de México a dirigir a esa organización. “La importancia, los recursos y el interés de sectores privados del mundo no se están concentrando en Ginebra (sede de la OMC), sino en esos acuerdos, ahí está el peligro porque esta organización está perdiendo pertinencia”. Hasta el 15 de enero de 2013, estaban en vigor 354 Acuerdos Comerciales Regionales a nivel global, con los que se otorgan preferencias dos o más países sólo entre ellos, de modo que los que no forman parte tienen desventajas con respecto esas nuevas aperturas parciales. Herminio Blanco enfatizó que la OMC debe “mantenerse relevante” frente a la red creciente de los TLC y mencionó específicamente implicaciones de dos iniciativas: un tratado comercial entre Estados Unidos y la Unión Europea, y otro entre Estados Unidos y 10 naciones, llamado Acuerdo Estratégico Transpacífico de Asociación Económica. Frente a ese desafío, planteó que su primera acción sería cambiar las percepciones sobre avance de Ronda Doha, una negociación para liberar el comercio entre 158 miembros (incluido Laos a partir del próximo sábado), cuando los ministros se volverán a reunir en Bali, Indonesia, del 3 al 6 de diciembre. A diferencia de los acuerdos bilaterales o regionales, el sistema multilateral comercio OMC impone el principio de no discriminación, llamado “nación más favorecida”, encaminado a velar por que se proporcionen a todos los países los beneficios comerciales que reciba uno de ellos. Tim Groser, ministro de Comercio de Nueva Zelanda y también candidato a dirigir la OMC, dijo que la cuestión más complicada de la Ronda Doha está en productos industriales más que en los agrícolas. La Ronda fue lanzada en la capital de Qatar a fines 2001 con meta de ayudar sobre todo países en desarrollo. (ElEconomista.com.mx – 31 /01/2013)

Eve of Disaster

1913(…..) Looking at the world of 1913 reminds us there is nothing immutable about continuity of globalization and certainly nothing immutable about Western-oriented globalization of the last few decades. There are plenty of distinct and plausible shocks to system could knock our expectations of future wildly off course, and plenty of surprises we can neither predict nor anticipate, but we can indirectly prepare for by attuning ourselves to the possibility of their occurrence. To take example of one of the more plausible shocks we now face, a miscalculation in the South China Sea could easily set off a chain of events not entirely dissimilar to a shot in Sarajevo 1914, with alliance structures, questions of prestige, escalation, credibility, military capability turning what should be marginal to global affairs into a central question of war and peace. In a general sense, while United States in 2013 may not be a perfect analogue for Britain in 1913 (nor China in 2013 a perfect analogue for Germany in 1913), it is certainly the case that the world we are now entering is more similar to that of 100 years ago, a world of competitive multipolarity, than that of a quarter-century ago. Just as in 1913, technology, trade, finance bind the world together now, and rational self-interest would suggest that integration these forces have brought about is irreversible. Yet, over the last few years, the world has witnessed a rise in trade protection, breakdown in global trade negotiations, totally inadequate progress on global climate discussions, moves to fragment the Internet. There is a corrosive and self-fulfilling sense that the dominance of the West, as the world’s rule-maker and pace-setter, is over. Humanity is forever condemned to live with uncertainty about future. Thinking historically equips us to better gauge uncertainty, to temper biases, question assumptions, stretch our imagination. By understanding history of other countries, particularly those are re-emerging to global eminence now, we might better understand their mindsets, hopes, and fears. And when we’ve done that, we might find we need to think again about how to build a future of our own making, rather than one decided for us by events. The world of 1913, a brilliant, dynamic, interdependent, offers a warning. The operating system of the world in that year was taken by many for granted. In 2013, at a time of similar global flux, the biggest mistake we could possibly make is to assume that the operating system of our own world will continue indefinitely, all we need to do is stroll into the future, future will inevitably be what we want it to be. Comforting times are over. We need to prepare ourselves for much rougher ride ahead.

Link: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/01/04/why_2013_looks_a_lot_like_1913

Should the E.U. Stick Together ??

EUROPAIt Must Adapt, Not Disintegrate. Should Europe really reverse course and disintegrate? Let’s not open that Pandora’s box, for it contains all kinds of evils that will be spread around Europe and its environs. European Union was founded on the rubble of war. It took hundreds of years for Europeans to understand a common destiny is best served by common institutions. While European Union’s past was about peace, its future is about power. Given Europe’s shrinking share of this planet’s population and industrial output, its influence and its affluence can only be preserved when Europe acts in unison. It was Brit, former Prime Minister Blair, who has described this nexus as eloquently as anybody. And It is another Brit, one of Blair’s successors as prime minister, David Cameron, who seems willing to bow to those who are bent on forgetting about it. Price to pay for disintegration is higher than any conceivable gain. Disintegration is a lazy response to a nuanced current problem. It puts peace and power at risk. Influence and affluence will become a chimera. Little Englanders, little Deutschlanders and little Polanders will vie for attention and compete for global market share. Their conflicts, and, yes, maybe wars, a global tragedy in the old days, will return to Europe as a regional farce. No mistake about it: There is a problem with unified Europe, and Cameron rightly acknowledged it in pledging to put U.K. membership in the European Union to a referendum. In fact, Cameron has deconstructed the founding myth of European Union according to which its direction is “ever closer union”. It is not. At least not anymore. And not for all. Certainly not for Britain. Old continent’s future will not become a “United States of Europe,” much as many Americans (from George Washington onward) would like it to in the interest of the simplicity and comparability. Nor will it become a 19th century style collection of nation states, despite hope of some nationalists and isolationists. Rather, multitiered European construct seems to be emerging. At core lies eurozone that solves its problems through the increasing integration and reform. Around this nucleus a ring of countries with different levels of integration with euro core is developing. What binds these countries to the core is access to single market. It appears that Poland will eventually join the euro zone, while Britain might become the Pluto to the euro zone’s sun. To avoid disintegration, the European Union is headed toward a more flexible and adaptable system.

Room for Debate: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/01/28/should-the-eu-stick-together

Welcome to the Era of the Light Footprint

Barack ObamaThe “light footprint” that is Barack Obama’s doctrine in foreign policy originated as Donald Rumsfeld’s doctrine in military policy. Rumsfeld was undone by contradiction between his ends and his means: in Iraq, he sought to attain big ends with small means, disastrously insisting after “shock and awe” a light, nimble American force advantaged by technology would suffice for assisting Iraqis in political transformation of their country. This was Rumsfeld’s “revolution in the military affairs”. President Obama has accepted Rumsfeld’s ideal of American military: “strategic guidance document” issued by Pentagon year ago declares, in italics, “whenever possible, we will develop innovative, low-cost, and small-footprint approaches to achieve our security objectives” (source: Leon Wieseltier – New Republic, U.S. – 29/01/2013)  

But Barack Obama modified Rumsfeld’s vision in two ways. The first was that he eliminated the contradiction between the means and the ends by shrinking the ends to fit the means. The second was that he extended the principle of shrinkage from military policy to foreign policy. This is Barack Obama’s revolution in international affairs. When that document was released, its revisions in the scale and the mission of the American military were interpreted as inexorable effect of the fiscal crisis, but that is not the whole story. Obama is acting also in the name of a strategic concept. It is an old, cold concept. Obama’s loftiness has provided cover for the ascendancy of “realism”, which is not always the same as realism, as the consequences of our abdication in Syria will eventually demonstrate. Obama-Rumsfeld lineage is only one of the ironies of the new foreign policy consensus. There is also bizarre enthusiasm of progressives for the amoral likes of Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski. And richest of all is their sudden reverence for Chuck Hagel, whom none of them admired, rightly not, when he was in the Senate. (No, he is not an anti-Semite. Congratulations.)

The most egregious aspect of the celebration of Hagel is the belief his Purple Hearts validate his withdrawalist inclinations. Since experienced war, he hates war. “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can,” Eisenhower once remarked. Why, then, does John McCain’s bravery in Vietnam not validate his interventionist inclinations? Truth is nobody loves war, and that you do not have to have witnessed war to hate war, and that war (or the use of force) is sometimes just and necessary. The merit of a view owes nothing to the biography of the individual who holds it, even if it confers a certain pathos. A chest full of medals hardly denotes a brain full of truths. Chuck Hagel’s optimism about diplomacy with Iran and Hamas, his opposition to sanctions, his recoil from humanitarian interventions, we will soon see if these opinions are correct, when Eisenhower, I mean Hagel, is confirmed, and executes (as the business people say) on Obama’s diminishment of America’s ambition in and for the world. Our detached president is detaching us. One of the essential elements of the new consensus in foreign policy is the belief in the primacy of domestic policy. Before America asserts itself abroad, it is universally agreed, we must put our house in order. (“The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than thirty cities,” Eisenhower declared in famous speech in 1953). Of course history never provides such a “before”. There is no temporary suspension of crises and duties in which we may refresh ourselves. Like individuals, nations exist in many realms simultaneously. Obama is right about “nation-building at home,” but his implication that therefore we are exempt from assisting in building of nations abroad, that fiscally speaking it is them or us, is momentously wrong. Even in our current woes, societies and movements in trouble look to us. And yet almost every conversation about our diplomacy now turns into conversation about our economy. This is sophisticated thinking at its most simplistic. The causal relationship between our fiscal condition and our place in world is not as neat as economicists say. There are many ways to reduce defense spending, each of them represents not an incontestable budget number but a contestable strategic vision; anyway the defense budget is hardly what threatens the government’s solvency.

And will the economicists, actuarial doves, become interventionists if we finally balance the budget? Of course not: they have other grounds-ideological, moral, historical, for their love of the light footprint. (In the matter of Israel, incidentally, light-footprintists demand a heavy touch, another irony, or a hypocrisy?) I do not understand all this good conscience about the weakening of America’s influence in the world, since I regard America’s influence as generally a blessing for the world. I am not referring only to export of our technology and our culture. If United States does not determine to assist democratic struggles around the world, then those struggles will suffer, even fail. We cannot save societies do not wish to save themselves, but we can significantly affect the likelihood of their emancipations. The dictator in Iran and dictator in Syria enjoy diplomatic protection and logistical support of Putin, a strong-footprint man; but from Obama their valiant opponents get only complexity, passivity, and loquacity. (New f-word in Washington, the one that it is impolite to utter, is “freedom”.) And what will our Asian “pivot” be worth, in the way of preparing for the full emergence of Chinese hegemon, if it, too, is a light footprint? Is smaller really better or safer? We are about to wane. We have elected to wane. Good luck to us. One day history will surprise us, shame on us for being surprised. “There is no alternative to peace,” said Eisenhower, who presided over an era of complacence. Alas, the world is lousy with people and powers who think otherwise. It may be the dumbest thing ever said by a soldier.