ALBA and PETROCARIBE approve new economic zone
News from Nicaragua | Monday, 13 January 2014 |
Member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) and PETROCARIBE met in Venezuela in December, and approved this economic zone that would include the members of both alliances and could potentially be expanded to incorporate the South American economic alliance MERCOSUR.
PETROCARIBE is composed of Venezuela and 17 Caribbean and Central American countries. Under the terms of PETROCARIBE, founded in 2005, Venezuela sells oil to the member countries at market prices for which they pay half the cost within three months. The other half becomes a low interest loan over a 20-year period which can be paid in cash or in kind.
The creation of a new economic zone would extend the principles of ALBA to the whole region. As Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro explained this new economic zone would be different from the “free trade agreements pushed by imperialism” because it will emphasize “truly equitable, shared, just, and complementary development. He added that, “This is the only way to begin to overcome the asymmetries and inequalities that are the product of historic processes and of the [small] size of our economies.” The committee to oversee the formation of the alliance will be made up of Venezuela, Nicaragua, Jamaica and Dominica and coordinated by Ecuador.
In a session with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the ALBA-PETROCARIBE summit countries also approved a plan of action for the eradication of hunger and poverty, including adopting policies to guarantee stable access to food, support for agro-industry projects, and the development of production chains between the markets of the various countries.