SANTIAGO: Spain asked to join an four-member alliance of Pacific Rim Latin American countries formed to boost trade with Asia, its prime minister said in an interview published Sunday.
"I have just made the request and got their support to join the Pacific alliance," Mariano Rajoy told the Santiago daily La Tercera.
Spain, which is reeling from a severe financial crisis and high unemployment, currently has observer status in the alliance, which groups Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, four resource-rich countries.
Rajoy is in Santiago to attend a two-day summit of the European Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) which ends Sunday.
He previously paid state visits to Peru and Chile to promote investment opportunities in his country, which he said has weathered the worst of the crisis.
"I am interested in the Pacific just as much as in Latin America, because in the Pacific we can invest, people from the Pacific can invest in our country, we can export our products to countries that are growing," Rajoy explained.
The Pacific Alliance, launched last June in Chile, has signed a host of trade agreements after liberalizing commerce with most major economies.
Chile and Mexico were the first to sign free trade accords with the EU and the United States.