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LatAm trade ministers push for Mercosur, Pacific Alliance cooperation

Regional integration topped the agenda at the World Economic Forum on Latin America in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on April 7, with several government officials suggesting that a closer relationship between the region's two major trade blocs could be on the cards.

"We must send the world a message that we need to be more liberal, more open and have more trade," Marcos Pereira, Minister of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services for Brazil, a Mercosur member, said during a meeting of trade ministers. "Without trade, everyone loses ... [We] need to inject more oxygen into Mercosur and no doubt the conversation we will start today with the Pacific Alliance will be essential," Pereira added.

Striking a similar tone, María Claudia Lacouture, the trade minister for Pacific Alliance member Colombia, said that "the biggest tectonic plates moving are how we can cooperate and work on relations jointly with others."

The comments came a day after the foreign ministers of Peru and Argentina, members of the Pacific Alliance and Mercosur, respectively, also discussed the importance of some sort of unification between the two blocs.

The theme of the economic conference in Buenos Aires was "Fostering Development and Entrepreneurship in the Fourth Industrial Revolution" and was attended by around 1,000 business leaders and politicians.