Speaking at a meeting with Paraguayan Foreign Minister Luis Alberto Castiglioni in Asuncion on March 7, Caffaro pointed to the great potential of trade between the two blocs, and laid emphasis on the need to approach the big market of ASEAN.
He said with 650 million people and an average growth of 6.5 – 7 percent a year, the Southeast Asian region will be an important consumption market in the next 50 years.
Furthermore, the region will be home to nearly 60 percent of the world’s middle-income group during 2025-2030, which he said would create a shortage of food, hence opportunities for Mercosur.
Caffaro suggested that FM Castiglioni works to increase diplomatic presence and promote products of Mercosur in general and Paraguay in particular in Southeast Asia.
He affirmed support for efforts to set up and expand bilateral trade relations between Mercosur and ASEAN.
According to Caffaro, the two sides should start talks on signed agreements that have not been concretised, and develop cooperative models between buyers and sellers as partners in a value chain for mutual benefits.
Mercosur (officially known as the Southern Common Market) comprises Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.
Meanwhile, the ASEAN has 10 member states, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.