Israel accepted as Pacific Alliance observer state

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Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on February 9, 2014Israel has been accepted as an observer state to the Pacific Alliance, a trade bloc grouping four of Latin America’s fastest-growing economies, officials said Tuesday. The move, which was approved late Monday at a Pacific Alliance summit in Cartagena, will see Israel joining the United States and Canada as an observer state to the body, which includes Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. Israel’s acceptance came about after talks between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the leaders of each member state as part of his policy of “developing new markets for the Israeli economy,” a statement from his office said. The Pacific Alliance countries have a combined gross national product (GNP) of over $2 trillion, which accounts for 36 percent of the entire GNP of Latin America, the statement said.