Latin America and ASEAN forging closer ties

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ASEANOn the heels of the debt crises in developed countries, trade and investment flows have shown new dynamics in the past five years. During this period – while the northern hemisphere has been struggling to solve internal crunches – new trade, investment and cooperation axes were being formed. In this scenario, ASEAN and Latin America are moving closer.

Reciprocal interest between Southeast Asia and Latin America has quite a long history. Over the years, economic and political cooperation between ASEAN countries and Latin America has, in fact, grown considerably thanks to bilateral trade and investment agreements signed over the past decade.

In this context, Thailand and Peru in 2010 signed a bilateral agreement that reduces trade tariffs up to 70 per cent, while discussion is going on with Singapore. To the same purpose, the P-4, or  Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership, a free trade agreement between Chile, Brunei, New Zealand and Singapore, removed 90 per cent of tariffs and aims to eliminate all trade tariffs by 2015.

Brazil, on the other hand, became the first Latin American country to sign the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia in November 2012 when foreign ministers of the 10 ASEAN countries and Brazilian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Maria Edileuza Fontenele Reis, met in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Furthermore, Argentina has many times shown its interest in improving relations with ASEAN. Argentina Foreign Minister Hector Timerman expressed his country’s interest to enhance cooperation between ASEAN and MERCOSUR (a free trade agreement between Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Paraguay and Uruguay). He also pointed out the need to finalise the draft Plan of Action in the framework of the next ASEAN-MERCOSUR ministerial meeting “that would further deepen and intensify the partnership and cooperation between ASEAN and MERCOSUR in a more comprehensive manner.”

Chile has set as one of the priorities of its international agenda for 2013 “to make progress in opening new markets in Asia and deepen integration within the Trans-Pacific Partnership” as Felipe Lopeandia, legal advisor at Chile’s foreign ministry, said. In addition, the country has also “started negotiations for a free trade agreement with Indonesia and another with India to pursue new markets on the continent,” he added.

Colombia also does not want to stay aside as Foreign Trade Vice Minister, Gabriel Duque, told the Indonesian Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Mari Elka Pangestu, during her visit to Colombia in April 2013 when they discussed priorities of a bilateral agenda.

The efforts to strengthen economic cooperation between both blocks are not only happening at a bilateral level. In fact, in June 2012 the ASEAN-Latin Business Forum took place in Jakarta where foreign ministers of 10 ASEAN countries and their counterparts from 18 Latin American countries encouraged the alignment of domestic policies to build up more business opportunities for investors from both blocks.

Although the story has just begun, these consolidating political and economic ties between the blocks are now a reality, and they are likely to form the backbone of a long-term strategic multidimensional partnership.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

On the heels of the debt crises in developed countries, trade and investment flows have shown new dynamics in the past five years. During this period – while the northern hemisphere has been struggling to solve internal crunches – new trade, investment and cooperation axes were being formed. In this scenario, ASEAN and Latin America are moving closer.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

ASEANOn the heels of the debt crises in developed countries, trade and investment flows have shown new dynamics in the past five years. During this period – while the northern hemisphere has been struggling to solve internal crunches – new trade, investment and cooperation axes were being formed. In this scenario, ASEAN and Latin America are moving closer.

Reciprocal interest between Southeast Asia and Latin America has quite a long history. Over the years, economic and political cooperation between ASEAN countries and Latin America has, in fact, grown considerably thanks to bilateral trade and investment agreements signed over the past decade.

In this context, Thailand and Peru in 2010 signed a bilateral agreement that reduces trade tariffs up to 70 per cent, while discussion is going on with Singapore. To the same purpose, the P-4, or  Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership, a free trade agreement between Chile, Brunei, New Zealand and Singapore, removed 90 per cent of tariffs and aims to eliminate all trade tariffs by 2015.

Brazil, on the other hand, became the first Latin American country to sign the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia in November 2012 when foreign ministers of the 10 ASEAN countries and Brazilian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Maria Edileuza Fontenele Reis, met in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Furthermore, Argentina has many times shown its interest in improving relations with ASEAN. Argentina Foreign Minister Hector Timerman expressed his country’s interest to enhance cooperation between ASEAN and MERCOSUR (a free trade agreement between Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Paraguay and Uruguay). He also pointed out the need to finalise the draft Plan of Action in the framework of the next ASEAN-MERCOSUR ministerial meeting “that would further deepen and intensify the partnership and cooperation between ASEAN and MERCOSUR in a more comprehensive manner.”

Chile has set as one of the priorities of its international agenda for 2013 “to make progress in opening new markets in Asia and deepen integration within the Trans-Pacific Partnership” as Felipe Lopeandia, legal advisor at Chile’s foreign ministry, said. In addition, the country has also “started negotiations for a free trade agreement with Indonesia and another with India to pursue new markets on the continent,” he added.

Colombia also does not want to stay aside as Foreign Trade Vice Minister, Gabriel Duque, told the Indonesian Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Mari Elka Pangestu, during her visit to Colombia in April 2013 when they discussed priorities of a bilateral agenda.

The efforts to strengthen economic cooperation between both blocks are not only happening at a bilateral level. In fact, in June 2012 the ASEAN-Latin Business Forum took place in Jakarta where foreign ministers of 10 ASEAN countries and their counterparts from 18 Latin American countries encouraged the alignment of domestic policies to build up more business opportunities for investors from both blocks.

Although the story has just begun, these consolidating political and economic ties between the blocks are now a reality, and they are likely to form the backbone of a long-term strategic multidimensional partnership.

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