Last week the 10 members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) decided to approve Chile’s request to join their Amity and Cooperation treaty. Chile is the second Latin American country to take the relationship with South East Asia to this level, after Brazil, which signed the same treaty in 2012.
ASEAN is integrated by 10 nations in the Asia-Pacific region: Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, Singapore, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia and Brunei.
Although mainly a political agreement, tightening relations with ASEAN this way will surely generate interesting economic opportunities for Chile.
Firstly, the combined GDP of all ASEAN nations would make it the seventh largest economy in the world, making it a promising destination for exports and a consistent source of demand in terms of commodities.
Next, it offers Chile a privileged position in what has been their diplomatic priority for the last couple of years: cementing solid trade relations with Asia-Pacific. Through all their efforts, Chile has been looking to intensify trade with the still vigorous economies of Asia, with which they share an ocean. This is just another step in the road towards this goal, another way to make it known that Chile is interested in befriending and developing interdependence with Asia-Pacific.
“This new agreement joins other efforts of participation with APEC (Asia-Pacific economic cooperation) y strengthens our network of trade agreements and south-south cooperation with this region, opening new stages for constructive dialogue with 10 countries in South East Asia” Said the press release out of the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Relations.
Despite the fact that the treaty does not make any promises on the matter of trade, it clearly expresses a mutual will to lift trade restrictions, any further advances on the matter should come as no surprise.