01/25/13- Prensa Latina (Habana) - CELAC: Enhanced Strength at the Negotiating Table
By Enrique Torres
Santiago de Chile, Dec 24 (Prensa Latina) The Community of Latin American and
Caribbean States (CELAC) gives much greater force to the region at the
negotiating table as it faces other blocs, assured ECLAC Executive Secretary
In an exclusive interview with Prensa Latina, speaking about the first CELAC-EU
(European Union) summit, the high level leader from the Economic Commission for
Latin America and the Caribbean said that the as countries of the area speak
with a single voice, they are in a better condition to perform against other
In her opinion, though Central America and Mexico, South America and the
Caribbean have different situations, it is clear that they are ready to act
jointly, as Asia-Pacific does, because they understand the power of strength
The official pointed out that one of the key elements is the need to strengthen
intra-regional trade, a large yet to be completed item on the agenda in Latin
America and remarked that from the total of the commercial activity of the area,
only 19 percent in the region is done internally, unlike Europe, where 66
percent of all trade is internal.
The first ECLAC-EU Summit, scheduled here on January 26 and 27, is an
acknowledgment that Europe is a region that has invested more in Latin America
and the Caribbean and in order to achieve a better balance, Europe should look
to those two regions with different eyes, because these areas are a potential
market for European products, and that the so-called old continent can also be a
market for theirs.
"I even coined the term 'Made in CELAC,' a new line of products that can be
assembled, exported and created by the nations of the bloc as a whole,"
reflected Bárcena, giving as an example the world famous iPhone, designed in
California, and assembled in China with raw materials from Singapore, Korea and
There remains much to explore in the world of connectivity, expanding trade,
lowering transaction and even transportation costs, coupled with the need to
broaden the base of productivity with greater technical progress, she added.
"Some countries have gone further with technical development, in terms of
research and development, which is associated, incidentally, with production,"
She cited the example of Cuba, which has made significant progress in science
and technology, and said that this progress can be connected with the
development of drugs and other health products. "I think that's a big issue in
Latin America and the Caribbean," she added.
If poverty has the face of a child, this is a way of saying that the future has
the face of poverty, reflected Barcena, who said that Cuba's contribution in the
pro tempore presidency of CELAC would be valuable due to its emphasis on
education, literacy and provision of skills for progress.
Teen pregnancy is one of the major problems that Latin America and the Caribbean
has to face, and for this the ECLAC Executive Secretary warned about the need
for health services for young women and poor.
In listing the major pending subjects in Latin America and the Caribbean, ECLAC
senior executive pointed to improving intra-regional trade, the use of
infrastructure, with a large pending field of action in transportation, ports
and roads, connecting countries better and at lower cost.
She also noted the exchange of technical progress among the nations of the area
and described jobs as the key to fighting inequality, not through precarious
labor, but quality jobs with rights, in which ECLAC is a firm believer.
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