| BUILDING AN EFFECTIVE AND CREDIBLE REGIONALISM:
harnessing the available institutional potential
In the coming months, it will be necessary to follow
the political and economic developments in the region, including those
related to the evolution of global developments, especially as a result
of the war in Ukraine and the turmoil in the world economy and trade.
It is in this perspective that the political and economic developments
that may take place in the South American region (with their repercussions
at the social level) will demand attention, especially in view of the
upcoming presidential elections in Brazil next October.
Likewise, the current international disorder can lead, as it has in
the past, to scenarios of anarchy and chaos. Just imagining the consequences
of this possible future can stimulate a positive vision of the construction
of alternate scenarios.
Such alternate scenarios could be the result of progress made at three
complementary levels in the construction of institutional frameworks that
promote convergence in diversity among South American countries and that
systematically combine political, economic and legal dimensions. We are
referring to the global level, the regional level and the level of each
From the Argentine perspective, three institutional frameworks of
which the country is a member have the potential, if properly harnessed,
to improve its ability to face economic and political international competition,
whose new stage is now beginning to be outlined, at least in practice.
The first of these is the WTO, the second is LAIA, and the third is Mercosur.
As has happened in the past, the current international turmoil could
potentially lead to scenarios of anarchy and chaos. Just imagining the
consequences of such a future can stimulate a positive vision of the construction
of alternate scenarios.
Such scenarios could be the result of the progress made on three complementary
levels in the construction of institutional frameworks that promote convergence
in diversity (as was proposed at the time by Heraldo Muñoz, President
Michel Bachelet's Foreign Minister in Chile), in which the political,
economic and legal dimensions are systematically combined.
One of these is the global level, in which the construction of an institutional
framework that is functional to a more intense cooperation among the nations
of the international system is continued. This is the task ahead for the
World Trade Organization (WTO) and will be more effective to the extent
that it manages to find intelligent approaches that reconcile agreements
involving all its member countries with the so-called "plurilateral
pacts". These aim to be global in scope even when they do not include
all countries. Could this be possible? Certainly, on the condition that
they reflect the realization of a genuine will to incorporate, albeit
gradually, those countries that initially opted not to become members
of the corresponding plurilateral pact.
The second is the regional level, especially due to its projection to
other regions through inter-regional agreements. The recent experience
of the Asia-Pacific countries, particularly that which has started with
the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership), can be added to
the experience being accumulated by the European Union (EU), still in
rapid evolution and to that which can be glimpsed in the future development
of the AU (African Union), which would enable to harness the full potential
of that region. These are all valuable experiences to inspire the future
development of Latin American regionalism.
The third level is that of the national strategy of each country of the
international system, regardless of its size and relative power, as to
how best to navigate a world that is increasingly connected and, at the
same time, uncertain and not necessarily supportive. The quality and effectiveness
of this strategy will depend on the correct diagnosis of the challenges
and opportunities that the global environment offers every country (even
the smallest and weakest), if they are clear about their strengths and
weaknesses in political and economic competition at the global level as
well as in the region to which they belong.
From the Argentine perspective, three institutional frameworks of which
the country is a member have the potential, if properly harnessed, to
improve its ability to navigate the waters of economic and political international
competition, whose new stage is now beginning to be outlined, at least
in practice. The first of these is the World Trade Organization (WTO),
the second is the Latin American Integration Association (LAIA), and the
third is Mercosur.
Following the results of the Ministerial Conference recently held in
Geneva (June 12-17, 2022), Argentina will need to continue to play an
active role in the WTO, together with its Mercosur partners and other
Latin American countries, to restore and strengthen an effective and efficient
dispute settlement system, as well as to promote the inclusion of plurilateral
trade agreements in the WTO framework.
In the case of LAIA, a careful reading of the 1980 Treaty of Montevideo
would help to reaffirm the assessment that must be made of its institutional
and regulatory framework, analyzed from the perspective of the different
areas of its competences. Among others, this is particularly true in the
case of the rules referring to the extent of the so-called "partial
scope agreements" (especially Articles 7, 8 and 14). The question
we should ask ourselves when reading the 1980 Treaty of Montevideo is
whether we are really taking advantage of all the potential that this
instrument offers in terms of policies and instruments aimed at joint
work among its member countries.
In the case of Mercosur, when asked whether it is taking full advantage
of the existing institutional framework, the answer would be that this
is not necessarily so. Addressing the shortcomings in its development
would not require modifications to its current founding legal provisions.
As an example, we can mention the question related to the role that the
Secretariat could eventually play in bringing together the initiatives
of the member countries in order to implement decisions that effectively
penetrate reality. In addition, we could refer to the full use of the
instrument of sectoral agreements provided for in Article 5(c) and, mainly,
in Decision 3/1991.
Both in the case of LAIA and Mercosur, as well as the interaction with
the Pacific Alliance and the Andean Community of Nations, the changes
that are taking place after the presidential elections in Chile and Colombia
are beginning to envision the generation of new political and economic
scenarios, which could even be very positive, for the development of the
idea of joint work among the countries of the South American region, with
a broader scope in the case of LAIA due to its Latin American projection.
A relevant fact for the necessary task of imagining future positive scenarios
in the region is that Gustavo Petro, the elected President of Colombia,
has appointed José Antonio Ocampo as Minister of Finance. A renowned
specialist in economics, development and international trade, Ocampo has
also held multiple international positions, including that of the Executive
Secretariat of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America
and the Caribbean (ECLAC). He has recently published a book on international
governance and development which we have listed as recommended reading
of this newsletter.
In the upcoming months it will be necessary to closely monitor the political
and economic developments that are taking place in the region, particularly
in the presidential elections in Brazil, even as a consequence of the
evolution of global events and especially as an effect of the war in Ukraine
and the disarray that can be observed in the economy and world trade.
To conclude we will mention two events of interest related to the issues
that we have discussed in this newsletter. This information was provided
by Edgar Vieira Posada, Director of the Global Thought Center (CEPEG)
of the Cooperative University of Colombia. The first event is the Symposium
"Europe-Latin America: results of the conference on the future of
Europe and actions to relaunch Latin American integration", to be
held in Madrid on October 13th and 14th. It will be carried out jointly
by the Euro-Latin American Institute for Integration Studies (IELEPI)
and the Group for Reflection on Integration and Development of the Cooperative
University of Colombia (GRIDALE). The second event is the III GRIDALE
Congress, which will take place in Sao Paulo during the second half of
June 2023. Let us remember that the II Congress was held in Buenos Aires
and it was organized jointly by GRIDALE and the National University of
Tres de Febrero (UNTREF). For more information on the latter refer to
the March 2021 issue of our newsletter.
- Brugnatelli, Niky, "The US-China battle for the semiconductor
industry", East Asia Forum, 4 June 2022, en www.eastasiaforum.org.
- CEPAL, "Economía digital para el cambio y la igualdad",
Mario Castillo (coordinador), CEPAL-@LIS, Santiago de Chile 2013
- Chander, Anupam, "Towards an Asian digital trade zone",
East Asia Forum, 19 June 2022, en www.eastasiaforum.org.
- Chen, Lurong, "Accelerating digital transformation in Asia",
East Asia Forum, 22 June 2022, en www.eastasiaforum.org.
- Chung, Kuyoun, "Will the Quad deliver to its promises?",
East Asia Forum, 22 June 2022, en http://www.eastasiaforum.org.
- Domingo, Francis, "Diplomacy in the time of cyber conflict".
East Asia Forum, 2 June 2022, en http://www.eastasiaforum.org.
- Drysdale, Peter; Armstrong, Shiro, "How Australia can find common
purpose with China", East Asia Forum, 27 June 2022, en http://www.eastasiaforum.org.
- Elizondo, Marcelo, "Crónica de la (des)relación
de la Argentina con las importaciones", Suplemento Comercio Exterior
del diario La Nación, jueves 30 de Junio 2022, página
- Judge, Kathryn, "Direct. The Rise of the Middleman Economy and
the Power of Going to the Source", HarperCollins Publisher. London-New
- Haskel, Jonathan; Westlake, Stian, "Restarting the Future. How
to Fix the Intangible Economy", Princeton University Press, Princeton
and Oxford 2022.
- Katzenstein, Peter; Kirshner, Jonathan, (editors), "The Downfall
of the American Order", Cornell Univesity Press, Ithaca and London
- Malamud, Carlos, "Las repercusiones regionales del triunfo de
Petro", Real Instituto Elcano 20, 27 de Junio 2022, en www.realinstitutoelcano.org.
- Mondino, Diana, "La Argentina no solo tiene la oportunidad de
abastecer al mundo; es su responsabilidad", Suplemento Comercio
Exterior del diario La Nación, jueves 9 de Junio 2022., página
- Morgenthau, Hans J., "Intervine or Not to Intervine", Foreign
Affairs, vol 45, number 3, April 1967.
- Ocampo, José Antonio (coordenacao), "Governanca Internacional
e Desenvolvimento", Cátedra José Bonifácio
8, Editora de Universidade de Sao Paulo-EDUSP, Sao Paulo 2021.
- Ocampo, José Antonio, "Cooperación económica
internacional durante la crisis de la COVID-19", páginas
35-69, en José Antonio Ocampo, "Governanca Internacional
e Desenvolvimento" (coordenacao), Edusp, Sao Paulo 2021.
- Peña, Félix, "Gobernabilidad del sistema de comercio
internacional", páginas 243-262, en Ocampo José Antonio
(coordenacao), "Governanca Internacional e Desenvolvimento",
Edusp. Sao Paulo 2021.
- Peña, Félix, "Una agenda sudamericana para enfrentar
la incertidumbre", diario Clarín, Opinión, martes
14 de Junio 2022, página 26.
- Peña, Félix, "El Mercosur afronta hoy una profunda
crisis de credibilidad y eficacia", Suplemento de Comercio Exterior
del diario La Nación, jueves 16 de Junio 2022, página
- Plokhy, Serhii, "Atoms and Ashes. A Global History of Nuclear
Disasters", W.W.Norton & Company, New York 2022.
- Rosales, Osvaldo, "La irrupción de China y las tensiones
en la gobernabilidad económica mundial", páginas
163-197, en Ocampo, José Antonio (coordenacao), "Governanca
Internacional e Desenvolvimento", Edusp, Sao Paulo 2021.
- Smil. Vaclav, "Oil. A Beginners's Guide", Oneworld Book,
- Smil, Vaclav, "How the World Really Works. The Science Behind
How We Got Here and Where We're Going", Viking, Penguien Random
House, London 2022.
- Teo, Sarah, "The Quad and ASEAN -where to next?", East Asia
Forum, 24 June 2022, en www.eastasiaforum.org.
- Thompson, Helen, "Disorder. Hard Times in the 21st Century",
Oxford University Press, Oxford 2022.
- Timmer, Peter, "Food Security now top priority for G20 Cooperation",
East Asia Forum, 5 June 2022, en www.eastasiaforum.org.
Félix Peña es Director
del Instituto de Comercio Internacional de la Fundación ICBC; Director
de la Maestría en Relaciones Comerciales Internacionales de la
Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero (UNTREF); Miembro del Comité
Ejecutivo del Consejo Argentino para las Relaciones Internacionales (CARI).
Miembro del Brains Trust del Evian Group. Ampliar