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Hanoi (VNA) – President of the Southern Common Market (Mercosur)-ASEAN Chamber of Commerce Rodolfo Caffaro Kramer has highlighted prospects for broader cooperation between Vietnam and Mercosur in trade and beyond.

He said Vietnam is an important trade partner of Mercosur, which comprises five members of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela, and six associate members of Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Suriname.

The second Vietnam visit of South American diplomats and enterprises aims to boost trade among Mercosur members and Vietnam through building a “bridge” for businesses of both sides, Kramer told the Vietnam News Agency.

Along with meetings with representatives of major Vietnamese firms, the delegation will work with leaders of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry to discuss the organisation of a visit of ASEAN businesses to Mercosur member countries, he revealed.

Regarding the impacts of the establishment of the ASEAN Community to the Mercosur, Kramer said that this is a very positive thing to Mercosur, especially in investment.

According to Kramer, the liberalisation of trade, investment and services as well as the simplification of administrative procedures among the ASEAN members will create favourable conditions for South American firms in Southeast Asia, helping them save time and cost.

He praised the ASEAN Community as an extraordinary model of regional integration that still preserves each member’s diversity and achieves an equal integration level.

Trade between Mercosur and ASEAN has yet to match their huge potential, he said, asserting that this means there is room for both sides to bolster their partnership.

Founded in 1991, Mercosur is considered a huge economic bloc with a total population of 275 million, or 70 percent of the South American region, and a combined GDP of 4.58 trillion USD, accounting for 82.3 percent of the region’s GDP.

The Mercosur-ASEAN Chamber of Commerce was set up in December 2013, headquartered in Montevideo, Uruguay. It has set up representative offices in Hanoi, Jakarta, Manila, Asuncion, and Buenos Aires.-VNA