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ECLAC wants strengthening of regional productive integration

Published:Friday | August 1, 2014 | 12:00 AM

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has called for countries to prioritise the strengthening of the region's productive integration.

ECLAC's Deputy Executive Secretary, Antonio Prado, told a meeting of regional ministers of finance and economy that intensifying the regional market is essential to gaining an international standing "that will make it possible to consolidate a structural change with equality.

"It is vital to begin with a modern notion of integration, based on the competitive creation of value chains," he said, adding that the region's enterprises needed to be guaranteed full access to the broader market, not only through the removal of traditional trade barriers but also through a regulatory rapprochement in the areas that have the most impact on trade and investment flows.

"Promoting competitive regional and subregional value chains requires a free-flowing dialogue with business and labour sectors - the main actors in these chains."

The senior United Nations official said deepening regional integration requires a financial security network for development to enable countries to tackle the adverse effects of external volatility on the business cycle, as well as affecting long-term productive development and growth.

ECLAC proposes that this network be based on: countercyclical financial provision to fund the balance of payments; mobilisation of resources for productive development and investment; and support for intra-regional trade.

"We must progress towards a regional reserve fund, which would make a significant contribution to providing the public good that is financial stability," Prado said, underscoring the role of value chains in the world context, as a means of organising international trade and production.