The presidents of Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru have signed an agreement aimed at creating one of the biggest trading blocs in Latin America.
Chilean President Alan Garcia hosted Mexico's Felipe Calderon, Sebastian Pinera of Chile and Colombia's Juan Manuel Santos in Lima Thursday as they signed the Pacific Accord.
The accord increases economic ties among the four Latin American countries with the goal of creating an integrated market that is competitive against larger economies, such as Brazil, and other regional trade groups. The agreement also is designed to forge a common strategy to access the Asian market.
Calderon described the agreement as the start of an important commercial zone.
The leaders have said the agreement could later be expanded to include other countries in the region, including Ecuador.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.