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Latin America, Asia leaders seek to boost economic ties

/ 08:48 PM August 26, 2011

BUENOS AIRES—Leaders at a gathering of nations from Latin America and Asia called Thursday for closer economic cooperation to help combat the global financial crisis.

Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman kicked off the gather by underlining “the need for concrete actions to strengthen biregional political and economic ties.”

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At the opening of the Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation gathering, foreign ministers approved the admission of Honduras and Suriname, which brought the total number of countries to 36, including 20 from the Americas and 16 from Asia.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told the opening session that in order to respond to the global crisis, the two regions need to cooperate more closely.

“There are challenges that can’t be solved by individual countries working on their own,” he said.

“Traditional and non-traditional problems needs (cooperative) solutions. That’s why we believe that there is a need for interregional cooperation.”

He said the challenges including not only the financial crisis, but “food security, energy security, environment concerns, these are the issues and problems that require collaboration.”

Collectively, the group accounts for more than 32 percent of global economic output.

Argentine President Cristina Kirchner met the delegates on Wednesday at the presidential residence and highlighted the need for new economic ideas.

“This crisis reflects fundamentally the imbalance in the economies of the world,” she said.

Trade between Asia and Latin America has quadrupled over the last 10 years, which marked the largest increase in trade between two major regions over that period of time, according to official figures.

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From the Latin American side, the forum includes Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela in addition to the two new members.

The Asian side is represented by Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.

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TAGS: Asia, Economy, Foreign affairs, Latin America
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