Utah is kicking off the month of March with the arrival of ambassadors and dignitaries from the Pacific Alliance, which includes the countries of Chile, Colombia, Peru and Mexico. Because of its commitment over the last 20 years to growing trade with these countries, Utah is the first state in the Western U.S. to be selected as the location for the Pacific Alliance annual meeting. Last year’s meeting was in Dallas and the year before that was in New York.
Established in 2011, the Pacific Alliance is a Latin America trade bloc comprised of nations that border the Pacific Ocean. The ambassador of Chile, ambassador of Colombia, ambassador of Peru and consul general of Mexico will be in Utah March 3 – 4 to meet with government and business officials, build upon existing trade relationships and conduct their annual meeting.
“In 2015, Utah companies exported more than $972 million worth of goods to Pacific Alliance countries, which represents 7 percent of total Utah exports,” said Derek B. Miller, World Trade Center Utah president and CEO. “The Pacific Alliance constitutes a growing export opportunity with a key trading group of Latin American countries, and having dignitaries from these countries visit our state illustrates to what extent Utah has become a global business destination.”
Utah Valley University (UVU) is hosting the dignitaries in partnership with World Trade Center Utah and the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development. The Pacific Alliance will hold their annual meeting at UVU and will also participate in an economic summit at the university on March 3.
“This is the first year the Pacific Alliance ambassadors have hosted the annual meeting at an academic institution,” said Baldomero Lago, senior director of UVU’s Office of International and Multicultural Studies. “We are thrilled and honored to welcome the Pacific Alliance ambassadors and dignitaries to Utah Valley University.”
While in Utah, the Pacific Alliance will meet with Gov. Gary R. Herbert to discuss best practices and how to further enhance our strong trade relationships. A luncheon on March 4 at 12:30 p.m. in Salt Lake City will also provide an opportunity for Utah business leaders to interact with the ambassadors and receive an update on the economic and political climates in these countries.
Pacific Alliance dignitaries participating in the luncheon on March 4:
- His Excellency Juan Gabriel Valdés, Ambassador of Chile to the U.S.
- His Excellency Juan Carlos Pinzón, Ambassador of Colombia to the U.S.
- His Excellency Luis Miguel Castilla, Ambassador of Peru to the U.S.
- The Honorable Eduardo Arnal Palomera, Consul General of Mexico
In addition to the Pacific Alliance dignitaries, the month of March will bring an influx of other diplomats. Utah will host ambassadors from the nations of India, Cambodia, Germany and Belgium.
“The number of diplomatic visitors Utah receives is well above the national average,” said Val Hale, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. “After spending just a few hours in the state, these men and women are amazed by the language capabilities and international focus in a small, landlocked state. They quickly find that Utah is a true competitor in the global economy and a viable partner moving forward.”