ASEAN to enhance economic cooperation with Latin America
ASEAN is looking to enhance its economic cooperation with Latin America in coming years as Southeast Asian countries see the need to diversify exports due to the global economic crisis.
Sundram Pushpanathan, deputy secretary-general of ASEAN for ASEAN Economic Community, said in his speech Monday that there was "untapped potential for greater trade and investment cross-flows between these two regions".
The reason for this lies in the lack of knowledge of Latin America in ASEAN countries. He said the only Latin American countries familiar to ASEAN would be Mexico, Chile and Peru, which are included as members of APEC.
Total trade between ASEAN and Latin America countries stood at US$24..07 billion in 2007, only 1.5 percent of ASEAN's global trade, said Pushpanathan.
He said the economic cooperation could boost trade and also investment between the two regions, which would be important seeing the power of emerging economies in the regions.
Diversifying exports will help developing countries to better withstand a crisis as they can shift exports to other countries when consumption in developed countries declines, he added.