Two-way trade between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Latin America hit nearly 67.3 billion USD last year, up 6.7 percent compared to 2012.

Statistics recently released by ASEAN showed that Latin America ’s export to ASEAN reached over 32.7 billion USD while import amounted to 34.6 billion USD in 2013.

ASEAN’s biggest trade partner in Latin America was Brazil (18 billion USD), followed by Panama (12.4 billion USD), Mexico (10.2 billion USD) and Argentina (7.9 billion USD).

ASEAN countries mainly exported automobiles, machinery and electronic products to Latin America while importing food, copper and garment from this market.

However, according to Thai economist Somjai Phagaphasvivat, who used to be advisor to the Thai Government and the UN, the two sides have much to do to increase their trade as Latin America accounts for nearly 3 percent of ASEAN’s export turnover.

The signing of free trade agreements (FTAs) is the best way to promote trade between two regions, he said.-VNA