Mercosul and ASEAN to enhance cooperation


Xinhua (China)
June 24, 2009

BRASILIA, June 24 (Xinhua) — Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and his Philippine counterpart Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, agreed here Wednesday to make joint effort to promote the relationships between the South American and Southeast Asian regions.

The two leaders said they will promote the cooperation between the Mercosur (South American Common Market) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

In a joint statement, both leaders acknowledged

the relevant roles played by Mercosur and ASEAN in realizing stability and prosperity in their respective regions.

They expressed support for the dialogue between

Mercosur and ASEAN, which began last November with the first meeting of senior officials from the two blocks held in Brasilia.

They also decided to reinforce the cooperation between the two blocks by holding a senior officials meeting, scheduled for August 2009 in Kuala Lumpur, and a ministerial meeting that will take place in parallel to the next UN General Assembly, in September 2009.

Mercosur comprises Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, while ASEAN is composed of Burma, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

The trade between Mercosur and ASEAN last year totalled 12,000 million U.S. dollars, an amount that both Lula and Arroyo considered as low.

During the first state visit of Arroyo in Brazil from June 22 to 25, the two countries signed a series of bilateral agreements in the areas of agriculture and bio-energy.

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