Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called on Latin America and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) yesterday to increase business and use existing frameworks for cooperation to boost trade and investment between the two regions. The call was made at the ASEAN-Latin Business Forum 2012, which seeks to foster trade and investment between the 10 ASEAN-member countries and Latin America and the Caribbean during a two-day conference. President Yudhoyono also invited attendees, which include trade representatives, corporate leaders, economists, and academics, to “use this event to close deals and find business partners, as Latin America and Southeast Asia have a bright future ahead.”
Peruvian Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism José Luis Silva said that the economies of ASEAN and Latin American countries will perform better than other regions during any future economic challenges. He also noted that the two regions have common goals. “We want to promote sustainable development, fight against inequality and reduce poverty,” he said. Silva added, “Before, Peruvian companies thought it was enough to have agreements with Europe and the United States. But with today’s crisis, they have realized we must work with other parts of the world.”
Trade between Latin America and ASEAN accounts for only 2.3 percent of the two regions’ total trade, $2.5 trillion. President Yudhoyono said that foreign direct investments between the two regions “remain low when compared to the total flows of their respective investments into other regions.” The ASEAN countries include Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.