The fourth and latest round of talks to integrate Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Singapore into the Pacific Alliance free trade area has continued to make progress, with the aim of bringing negotiations to a close later this year.

The free trade and economic integration initiative between Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru was established in 2011 and represents the world's sixth-largest economy with over 220m people.

The Latin American bloc last year agreed to add Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Singapore to the trade agreement, with the goal of quickly wrapping-up talks to make the four countries associate members of the Alliance.

The talks in Ottawa, Canada, last month covered a range of issues related to sanitary and phytosanitary measures, trade remedies, rules of origin, market access, services, investment, intellectual property, government procurement, institutional matters, technical barriers to trade, and trade facilitation, according to a statement issued by Chile's General Directorate for International Economic Relations.

Achieving stronger relationships with the Asia-Pacific region is one of the Pacific Alliance's strategies to increase trade.

Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Singapore are also among the 11 countries who are part of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade pact, which will eventually remove duties on 95% of goods traded between them, including all textiles and apparel. The CPTPP agreement was signed in March this year, but still needs to be ratified by its members.