On Friday, 7 April, a meeting was held between Foreign Minister of Singapore, Vivian Balakrishnan, and his peers from MERCOSUR, Susana Malcorra (Argentina), Aloysio Nunes (Brazil), Eladio Loizaga (Paraguay) and Rodolfo Nin Novoa (Uruguay) in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Argentina, in the exercise of the Pro Tempore Presidency, welcomed the visiting Foreign Minister, noting that MERCOSUR was in a stage of deepening its integration and repositioning in terms of external links.
In that framework, she identified Asia as a priority and Singapore as a gateway to that region. Malcorra said that given that character, MERCOSUR and Singapore could move towards a closer bilateral approach, as a first step towards strengthening the dialogue with ASEAN, whose presidency will be held by Singapore in 2018.
The Foreign Ministers of MERCOSUR agreed in that course of action, highlighting the importance for their countries of economic relations with Asia in general and with ASEAN in particular.
Foreign Ministry Balakrishnan remarked the strengths of both Singapore and ASEAN in terms of GDP, per capita income and population, among other indicators, as well as the opportunities that this region, with an emerging middle class, represents for MERCOSUR.
In order to deepen the dialogue between the two regions, the Foreign Ministers agreed, on the one hand, to establish a Working Group between MERCOSUR and Singapore and, on the other, to promote a meeting between the Foreign Ministers of MERCOSUR and ASEAN, on the occasion of the next UN General Assembly.
Date: April 7, 2017