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Chile formally requests incorporation to CAN

MercoPress, Uruguay

Chile formally requests incorporation to CAN

23 August 2006

Chile formally requested incorporation to the Andean Community of Nations, CAN, in a letter sent by President Michelle Bachelet to her counterparts from Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru, reported Foreign Affairs minister Alejandro Foxley.

“We’ve just sent a letter to the presidents in which we express our positive willingness to eventually formalize an association with CAN”, said the Chilean official on Wednesday in Lima, where he signed a bilateral trade agreement with Peru.

Following the letter from Ms Bachelet, “Chile is awaiting suggestions from the other presidents as to how best implement the incorporation to CAN”, underlined Foxley.

Last August 7 the governments of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru in Bogotá extended an invitation to President Bachelet for Chile’s integration to CAN.

“The decision on Chile’s participation in CAN now belongs to the Andean group presidents because President Bachelet has given a positive response in her letter”, added the Chilean official.

Once the presidents reply, “we Foreign Affairs secretaries can get on with the job on how to instrument the incorporation of Chile”.

Chile was a founding member of the sub-regional block in 1969 when the official name of the organization was the Andean Pact. But in 1976 Chile left the group following discrepancies over how to deal with foreign investment.

Currently Chile’s open market and virtually zero tariff policies could prove a stumbling block for a full membership of CAN. As with Mercosur, Chile could become an associate member.