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Chilean trade to span Asia

Chilean Trade to Span Asia

Hanoi, Nov 21 2006 (Prensa Latina) — Chilean President Michelle Bachelet concluded a new tour of Asia and the Pacific in search of markets.

The trade tour began in Sydney, Australia where Foreign Minister Alejandro Foxley announced the beginning of talks with counterpart Alexander Downer on a free trade accord.

In Wellington, New Zealand, Bachelet attended the APEC 2006 Summit and along PM Helen Clark witnessed the signing of a framework agreement to promote and boost joint ventures.

The signing involved Corporacion Chilena de Fomento and New Zealand’s Chamber of Commerce.

Both officials also pledged full support to the Transpacific Strategic Economic Partnership (P-4) involving New Zealand, Chile, Singapore and Brunei, that Chile implemented early this month.

The P-4 free trade agreement with members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation pledges to eliminate export tariffs by 2015.

After 12-months of talks, a meeting in Hanoi with PM Shinzo Abe okayed a free trade accord with Japan that validates tax exemption or preferential terms for 70 percent of exports and 90 percent of agriculture exchange.

The agreement will be signed in 2007 at the Asia-Pacific Summit in Australia.

Chilean exports to Japan in the early nine months of the year rounded 4.4 billion dollars, mostly in copper, as Chile is the world’s top producer.

But Japan is also interested in Chilean salmon, trout, wines, agricultural produces and forestry, while Chile will import Japanese manufactured goods ranging from cars to microchips.

President Bachelet praised the accord because it completes Chile’s network of free trade agreements involving the US, EU and China, plus ongoing negotiations with Thailand.

With Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Minh Triet, Bachelet attended the signing of a Letter of Intent to negotiate in 2007 a free trade agreement and pledged to promote trade and investments.

In Hanoi, Bachelet and Malaysian PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi negotiated a free trade agreement that, if successful, would be Malaysia’s first such accord with Latin America.

Malaysia expects to increase bilateral trade so investments would open Latin American markets to a 550 million populace and 298 billion dollars.

Malaysia is negotiating free trade agreements with 14 of the 21 APEC members either through bilateral exchange or with ASEAN.

 source: Prensa Latina