BANGKOK – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, and the countries of Latin America will build stronger ties in the coming years, the spokesman for Thailand’s Foreign Ministry said.
“The key is to increase mutual understanding between both regions. Distance is not an obstacle in a globalized world,” Sek Wannamethee told EFE.
The two regions can work to build stronger relations in tourism and other sectors, as well as closer investment, academic and economic development ties, Sek said.
Students are increasingly learning Spanish in Thailand, and exchange trips also are becoming more common between the Southeast Asian nation and Latin American countries, the spokesman said.
He added that a promising space for Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries to further strengthen these interregional ties is the Forum of East Asia-Latin America Cooperation, which brings together more than 30 countries from both regions.
Sek also pointed to the potential offered by the Pacific Alliance, a Latin American trade bloc made up of Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Costa Rica and Peru.
“Thailand’s economic development in recent years has been internationally recognized, and it’s an experience we can share with other countries,” the Foreign Ministry spokesman said Friday.
He said the founding this year of the ASEAN Economic Community, or AEC, which is pursuing the goal of regional integration, will increase business opportunities for Latin American countries and European nations, including Spain.
Thailand has signed free-trade agreements with Chile and Peru, two of the Latin American countries with which it makes most of the trade.
In the case of ASEAN, that bloc has a joint free-trade agreement with Australia and New Zealand, as well as other trade deals with India, Japan, South Korea and China.
Founded in 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, the ASEAN has since expanded to include Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Burma (Myanmar) and Cambodia.