Resource-rich Chile aims to forge closer trade ties with Asia, a bright spot in the struggling global economy, President Sebastian Pinera said Thursday on a visit to Vietnam.
The South American nation aims to sign a treaty on comprehensive cooperation with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asia Nations (Asean), Pinera told reporters in Hanoi ahead of talks with prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung.
“With the help of Vietnam, Chile will be able to realise the wish soon,” he said, speaking through an interpreter.
“Chile wants to get closer to Asean,” he added, describing the Asia-Pacific region as “a brightening area of the world economy”.
Vietnam, a big exporter of seafood and textiles, and Chile are both already part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a US-led effort to start building a free-trade zone spanning the entire Asia-Pacific region.
Pinera noted that Chile, the world’s biggest copper producer, has strengthened its economic ties with communist Vietnam, signing a free-trade agreement in November 2011.
Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang said Thursday that the agreement would bring “tangible benefits” for both nations.
The countries’ combined two-way trade has been increasing fast — up by more than 30 percent every year for the past two years, according to Vietnam.
After Vietnam, Pinera will fly to South Korea to join US President Barack Obama and other leaders for a nuclear security summit in Seoul on March 26 and 27. He will then travel to Japan on March 28 for a four-day visit.