Peoples Dispatch / Globetrotter News Service reports that the leaders of 11 Latin American and Caribbean countries took part in a virtual summit against inflation, on April 5, called by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO). The summit sought to form an alliance to jointly face the inflation crisis affecting the region.
In addition to President AMLO of Mexico, the countries represented were Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Honduras, Venezuela, Belize, Colombia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
During the meeting, political leaders discussed joint solutions to face high food prices and shortages in the region, as well as to strengthen regional integration and trade. They expressed their will to unite efforts to guarantee economic growth and development that promote inclusion, equity, and sustainability of food and nutrition security for people, and to face inflationary pressures on the basic food basket and essential goods and services. They also committed to strengthening their economies and productive sectors through inclusion, solidarity, and international cooperation.
The leaders signed a joint declaration and agreed on actions to “advance the definition of trade facilities as well as logistical, financial, and other measures that will allow the exchange of basic food basket products and intermediate goods under better conditions, with the priority of lowering the costs of such products for the poorest and most vulnerable population”.
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[Editor's note: The following is a slightly edited machine translation of the joint declaration.]
Presidential declaration of the Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Countries against Inflation
The Head of State and/or Government of the Argentine Republic, Belize, the Plurinational State of Bolivia, the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Republic of Chile, the Republic of Colombia, the Republic of Cuba, the Republic of Honduras, the United Mexican States, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines — in its capacity as President Pro Tempore of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), met on April 5, 2023 at the initiative of Mexico to find joint solutions to the price pressures and shortages in the region, as well as to strengthen regional integration and trade.
Considering that the global supply of food and basic commodities, including grains and energy, is being negatively affected as a consequence of an adverse international context of the effects of the multidimensional crisis affecting the global economy marked by extra-regional military conflicts, a slow recovery of operations in the production and distribution chains of goods, the European Union's response to the effects of the multidimensional crisis affecting the global economy, marked by extra-regional military conflicts, a slow recovery of operations in the production and distribution chains of goods, products and services following the COVID-19 pandemic, a large external debt that particularly affects low- and middle-income countries, and the negative impact that climatic phenomena have on crops and agricultural activities, sanitary and phytosanitary emergencies in the region, as well as the application of unilateral coercive measures contrary to international law that affect some countries.
Emphasising the need for a fairer, more democratic, inclusive and supportive international financial system that allows the countries of our region to access the necessary financial resources and improve the conditions of external indebtedness in order to promote economic recovery to guarantee food and nutritional security for our peoples, particularly for the most vulnerable sectors.
Determined to unite regional will and efforts to guarantee economic growth and development that promotes inclusion, equity and sustainability of food and nutritional security of our peoples and to urgently and jointly confront inflationary pressures on the basic food basket, intermediate goods and services that negatively affect the popular economy.
Committed to strengthening our economies and productive sectors through inclusion, solidarity and international cooperation, in order to find alternatives to improve physical and economic access to products, basic foodstuffs, intermediate goods and services, taking into account fiscal responsibility, national and local realities in each state, as well as the complementarity that exists between our countries.
Aware of the trade agreements in force that each country maintains, of the commitments derived from memberships in organisations and mechanisms for trade cooperation and economic integration and of the negotiations underway at bilateral, regional or multilateral level, as well as of the particular situation of the countries.
Recognising the need to reach agreements that provide a long-term horizon of predictability to the productive sectors in order to stimulate sustainable food production and generate concrete benefits for our peoples.
Reaffirming the sovereign power of the countries of this Summit to implement economic, agricultural and food security policies, as well as to promote effective actions to eradicate poverty and promote the human right to adequate food with a focus on gender and respecting the diversity of food habits, in particular the food needs of the poorest and most vulnerable populations.
WE AGREE TO:
1. Advance in the definition of trade facilities, as well as logistical, financial and other measures, taking into consideration the reality of each country, that will allow the exchange of products of the basic basket and intermediate goods to take place under better conditions with the priority of lowering the costs of these products for the poorest and most vulnerable population.
2. Create a Technical Working Group composed of government representatives from each country to determine the regional cooperation measures mentioned in the previous paragraph, for the commodities and inputs, particularly chemical and organic fertilisers, identified by the countries participating in this Summit in line with the respective multilateral, regional, sub-regional and bilateral agreements that bind each country.
3. The Technical Working Group will have the authority to establish a plan of action that allows for the implementation within a reasonable timeframe, the adoption of trade facilitation measures to address the high prices of basic consumption products and inputs to contribute to food and nutritional security, including technology transfer and cooperation in capacity building, as well as to generate a virtuous circle of prosperity, economic growth and sustainable development for Latin America and the Caribbean.
4. The Technical Working Group will carry out an analysis of feasibility and actions leading to a more agile and effective access to basic consumption products and inputs through the advancement of better logistical conditions; and where possible, prioritising the development of a framework for the removal of obstacles and harmonisation of sanitary and phytosanitary regulations and certifications in accordance with the requirements established by each country for protection in these areas and based on scientific evidence, in accordance with international reference standards.
5. Within the logistical and financial facilities referred to in the first paragraph, the aforementioned Group shall recommend the adoption of measures to improve the efficiency of the entry and exit of products through ports and borders, and the exchange of intermediate inputs, machinery and technology for the benefit of agricultural productivity.
6. Promote measures to facilitate access to international credit, and to increase multilateral financing for agricultural, agro-industrial and infrastructure projects for the transport of goods.
7. Coordinate efforts with producers, buyers, transporters and logistics operators from the private sector and other economic actors to follow up on the agreements of this Summit and its results.
In this context, we welcome the forthcoming meeting between business sectors, including family and peasant farming organisations, and high-level authorities of the countries participating in this Summit, to be held on 6 and 7 May in Cancun, Mexico.
1. Continue the work in the framework of the commitment established during the VII Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), held on 24 January 2023, in Buenos Aires, Republic of Argentina, based on the Special Declaration on Food Systems and Traditional and Sustainable Knowledge and Practices, as well as in the framework of the CELAC SAN 2025 plan for food and nutritional security and eradication of hunger.
2. To extend the invitation to the other countries of the region to join this initiative, in order to contribute to the overall well-being of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Wednesday 5 April, 2023
[Translated from gob.mx.]