Illustrative image (Source: AFP/VNA)
Jakarta (VNA) – Vietnam has called on the ten-member ASEAN and the Pacific Alliance (PA) to increase their exchanges in order to effectively deal with challenges hindering their affiliation like geographical distance and cultural differences.

Ambassador Nguyen Hoanh Nam, head of the Vietnamese delegation to ASEAN made the propose at a meeting between the ASEAN’s Committee of Permanent Representative (CPR) and the PA’s Group of External Relations (GER) in Bangkok, Thailand, on May 10.

The two sides have great potential to enhance their cooperation not only in economic field, he said, noting that ASEAN and the PA boast close political ties and have regularly coordinated with each other at international forums.

Other delegates at the event were of the same view, adding that with common interests in many fields and multiple similarities, the two sides can work as a bridge for each other to access new markets.

They said to overcome difficulties such as geographical distance and poor understanding of each other, a suitable approach is needed to realise the potential. First of all, the two sides should decide priority and feasible areas for cooperation in the immediate future, such as reducing poverty, narrowing development gap, facilitating trade and investment, developing small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and increasing people-to-people exchanges.

Participants agreed that the two sides will swiftly outline a framework document on ASEAN-PA cooperation which will be submitted to the ASEAN-PA Foreign Ministers Meeting scheduled for September in New York for approval.

They suggested the two sides consider enhancing their coordination of stance on issues of shared concern at regional forums and frameworks such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC), the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Group of 20 (G20).

Established in 2011, the PA’s objective is to promote economic, trade and investment cooperation among its members – Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.

With a population of 206 million and combined GDP of 3.72 trillion USD, the alliance now accounts for 46 percent of total exports and half of imports in Latin America.

The ASEAN-PA relationship was set up in September 2014 on the basis of outcomes of the first ASEAN-PA Foreign Ministers’ Meeting which was held on the sidelines of the 69 th session of the UN General Assembly.

During the second ASEAN-PA Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in September 2015, the two sides consented to scope out their affiliation in a number of priority realms like economy, trade, tourism, culture and SMEs development.

Thailand is the rotating coordinator between ASEAN and the PA in 2016. The role will be transferred to Vietnam next year.-VNA