The ASEAN Foundation, with funding support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), recently conducted a workshop on “Prospects of Economic Relations between Southeast Asia and Latin America: Some Policy Options including Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)” at the ASEAN Hall, ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, Indonesia. Dr. Filemon A. Uriarte, Jr., ASEAN Foundation Executive Director and Mr. Kaname Okada, Chief of Japan Program, Inter-American Development Bank welcomed the participants and H.E. Mr. Sundram Pushpanathan, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Economic Community, delivered the keynote address. The one-day workshop was attended by over 70 business executives, government officials, ASEAN and Latin American Ambassadors and representatives from the diplomatic corps.
Held on 12 October 2009, the workshop provided a venue for participants from the two regions to share knowledge and best practices on trade and investment, explore collaborative projects and strengthen network linkages especially those related to SMEs. Background papers on economic relations between ASEAN and Latin America were presented by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Indonesia (CSIS), the United Nations ESCAP and the Philippines’ University of Asia and the Pacific. Experts from relevant organizations shared their views during the panel discussion.
“The workshop is a small step towards restoring the once flourishing trade between Southeast Asia and Latin America which started 444 years ago through the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade,” said Dr. Filemon A. Uriarte, Jr., Executive Director of ASEAN Foundation, in his opening remarks.
ASEAN DSG Pushpanathan, in his keynote, also stressed that despite the logistical challenges between the Southeast Asian and Latin America regions, “economic engagement should no longer be impeded by geographical distance, but must be promoted on the basis of mutually beneficial economic growth through closer engagement.”
The workshop is the first of a series under the ASEAN Foundation project “Transfer of Knowledge between Southeast Asia and Latin American countries on trade and investment” funded by IDB. Under this project, series of workshops would be conducted in Jakarta and other ASEAN cities to enhance inter-regional collaboration through sharing of best practices on trade and investment and strengthen network linkages between the two regions. This is the first activity between IDB and ASEAN.
Established by the ASEAN Leaders in 1997, the ASEAN Foundation aims to promote ASEAN awareness and identity, encourage interaction among various ASEAN stakeholders and help address socio-economic disparity and poverty issues in the region. Since its establishment, the ASEAN Foundation has so far supported over 100 development projects amounting to nearly US$ 20 million and provided training to over 18,000 ASEAN nationals.
In Bahasa Indonesia