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Thailand swaps gateway with Brazil to regional trade blocks

The Nation, Bangkok

Thailand swaps gateway with Brazil to regional trade blocks

By Supalak Ganjanakhundee

23 April 2008

ACCRA—Thailand and Brazil would swap the role of gateway to Asean and MERCOSUR trade block in the Latin America to boost trade of both sides, Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama said Tuesday.

The idea was reached when Noppadon met his Brazilian counterpart Celso Amorim on the sideline of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development here in Ghana.

Thailand would be the gate way to the Asean while Brazil would be the gate way for the kingdom to MERCOSUR and Latin America, he said.

Found in 1991, the MERCOSUR is a regional free trade agreement among Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. While the Asean has a similar version of free trade agreement called Asean Free Trade Agreement known locally as AFTA.

The Asean, which Thailand would hold the rotation chairmanship from July, would have a joint ministerial meeting with the MERCOSUR in Brazil in November, back-to-back of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Peru.

Bilaterally, Thailand and Brazil will cerebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relation in April next year and the kingdom is looking to have close cooperation on alternative energy, notably Ethanol, which Brazil has expertise, Noppadon said.

Brazil is Thailand’s biggest trade partner in Latin America with two-way trade worth $ 1.9 billion. The two countries have potential to increase trade value up to $ 4 billion, he said.