Asia, Latin America boost trade

Members of the 15th Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC) have agreed to set up a business body to promote cooperation in trade and investment.

The move comes after the second FEALAC business forum was held in Bangkok yesterday, which is a meeting on the sidelines of the FEALAC framework and groups 36 countries together from two regions.  

Songsak Saichuea, the Foreign Ministry's director-general of American and South Pacific affairs, said the meeting agreed to establish a core group with representatives from four East Asian countries and three from Latin American countries.

The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industries and Banking of Thailand will act as a coordinator to set up a FEALAC business forum and will try to persuade other Asian countries to participate.

Chile will seek to find another two interested countries from Latin America to join the core group.

The regions also agreed to increase the volume of trade and investment with each other, saying both sides are engines of regional growth.

Mr Songsak said the meeting could lead to Latin American and East Asian countries enjoying greater benefits from bilateral free trade areas.

On tourism, both sides agreed to enhance public relations through the use of social networks such as Facebook.

Travel agencies would help promote air travel between the regions.

On academic cooperation, the business forum also agreed to set up a university network to push Asian and Latin American studies in each region and seminars will be held regularly.

Mr Songsak said both sides agreed in principle to conduct joint research on alternative energy and natural disaster risk management.

Foreign Ministry deputy permanent secretary, Narong Sasitorn, said at the opening ceremony of the business forum that the two regions have a very important role to play in the future expansion of the global economy.

FEALAC represents 40% of the world's population and accounts for 30% of the world's trade.

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