Participants discuss at the seminar in Hanoi on May 22 (Photo: thesaigontimes.vn)

Hanoi (VNA) – A seminar was held in Hanoi on May 22 to discuss ways to support Vietnam’s role as coordinator of ASEAN’s relations with the Pacific Alliance (PA), thus strengthening cooperative ties between the two blocs and between Vietnam and the PA.

The event was part of the PA Week in Hanoi from May 22-28, with a range of activities such as gastronomy, a film festival and a photo and product exhibition.

The seminar was attended by senior officials of Vietnam and PA members, including Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, along with representatives of 49 embassies and Vietnamese firms, which are interested in Latin American markets.

In his opening speech, Secretary-General of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) Eduardo Pedrosa highlighted the goals of the PA, including building a deeply integrated region; promoting growth, development and competitiveness of the member economies; and forming a forum on political cooperation as well as economic and trade integration.

Vu Quang Minh, Assistant the Foreign Minister of Vietnam, spoke highly of the PA’s role in the recent outstanding development of the Asian-Pacific region. Established in 2011, the alliance has developed rapidly and impressed the whole world with its regional connectivity process in various fields, he said.

Latin America is always a very important region in Vietnam’s foreign policy and international cooperation, Minh said, adding that the PA countries are critical partners of Vietnam. Their political ties with Vietnam have continually been reinforced through mutual visits and meetings between senior leaders on the fringe of international conferences.

Minh said economic and trade relations between Vietnam and the four PA members have kept growing by 15-20 percent each year, exceeding 7 billion USD in 2016 – accounting for 50 percent of Vietnam’s total trade with the Latin American region. The Southeast Asian nation and the PA countries have also cooperated in many other spheres such as science-technology, response to climate change, social welfares, agriculture, tourism, public transport, urban infrastructure development, culture and education.

At the seminar, participants discussed many issues regarding cooperation areas in order to enhance the friendship, cultural exchanges and trade ties between Vietnam and the PA.-VNA