06 Jul 2012
Amid the worsening global economy, Indonesia will host a business forum for ASEAN and South American countries on July 9 and 10 in Jakarta, which will offer chances for business people from both regions to explore new trade and investment opportunities.
The third and biggest ever ASEAN Latin business forum, scheduled to be opened by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, will be attended by a number of prominent figures comprising business leaders, trade representatives and decision makers, including International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Christine Lagarde, who will deliver her remarks on the second day of the forum.
A number of ministers from South American and ASEAN countries will also take part in the forum, such as Brazilian Trade Minister Fernando Pimentel, Mexican Economy Minister Bruno Ferrari, Malaysian Minister of International Trade and Industry Sri Mustapa Mohamed and Singaporean Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang.
Apart from that, business leaders from the South American region, including Carlos Slim Domit, the son of Mexican mobile phone tycoon Carlos Slim Helu and Francisco Sergio Turra, the chief executive officer of Brazilian ore mining corporation, Vale, will also attend the event.
The event will give a major boost to both regions at a time when they are eyeing opportunities in new markets and alternative economic partners amid the economic gloom that surrounds advanced economies in the European Union and the US, which have traditionally driven economic growth, Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan said on Thursday.
“Our potential to conduct trade and other economic activities, including investment and tourism, is huge,” he told reporters during a press conference at his office in Jakarta. Current regional economic relations were still far below their potential, as regions with similar population sizes still traded mostly to other countries outside the blocs, Gita added.
Both regions, which have populations of around 580 million and a total gross domestic product of US$5 trillion, had two-way trade totaling $48.54 billion in 2010, according to ASEAN official data.
Indonesian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) chairman Suryo Bambang Sulisto voiced a similar view, saying that there was still enormous room to expand ties due to the complementary economic structures of both regions. “Their [South American] business communities are more advanced compared to us. We can take many benefits from this cooperation,”