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LatAm integration association stresses importance of Panamanian entry

05-04-2012 09:35 BJT

PANAMA CITY, May 3 (Xinhua) -- The Latin American Association of Integration (ALADI) on Thursday stressed Panama's entry to the bloc is key "to continue rowing toward integration."

During a visit to Panama for a two-day seminar on Panama's entry into ALADI, ALADI Secretary-General Carlos Alvarez stressed that there were still major challenges facing the integration ALADI seeks, including protectionist moves in trade.

"We will do well when we have a strategy for open regionalism," he said, adding he hoped the efforts made to integrate Panama into the ALADI will pay off in increased development.

Alvarez also said he was optimistic about the levels of growth being registered by regional economies, saying this should contribute to the long-existing idea of establishing a common Latin American market with the goal of improving living standards, reducing poverty, and strengthening democracy.

"Latin Americans are rediscovering each other," he said.

Meanwhile, Panama's Foreign Minister Roberto Henriquez on Thursday stressed the significance of his country's entry into ALADI, saying the move will help consolidate President Ricardo Martinelli's development plan.

"We are making giant strides toward strengthening our relations with highly strategic trade partners," said Henriquez at the opening of the seminar.

Last October, Panama became the 13th Latin American country to join ALADI, which was established under the 1980 Montevideo Treaty and comprises Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

ALADI was Panama's fourth largest trading partner, with two-way trade volume exceeding 1.22 billion U.S. dollars in 2010.

Editor:Wang Lingfei |Source: Xinhua

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