The Forum for East Asia –Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC)
was created in 1999 at the initiative of Chile and Singapore, with the objective of stimulating interaction and mutual understanding between the two regions, of promoting greater political dialogue, and of increasing cooperation in order to foster coordination between the two regions.
The initiative to create FEALAC meets the Brazilian goal to broaden and deepen its relations with Asia in the diplomatic, economic and commercial spheres. The Forum contributes to strengthening and promoting bi-regional relations, since it constitutes the most comprehensive cooperation mechanism involving East Asia and Latin America. Today, it comprises 36 countries: 20 from Latin America (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela) and 16 from East Asia (Brunei, Cambodia, China, Singapore, South Korea, Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand).
The basic principles of FEALAC are: respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of each country; non-interference in the internal affairs of other States; equality, mutual benefits and development promotion; respect for cultural and social diversity; and the prevalence of consensus in the decision-making process.
From an institutional point of view, the Forum currently works on three levels:
- Foreign Ministers Committee, the highest decision-making body of the mechanism. It holds meetings every two years;
- Senior Officials Committee: meets annually; and
- Working groups: hold meetings annually in the following areas: Sociopolitical Cooperation and Sustainable Development; Trade, Investment, Tourism and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises; Culture; Youth; Gender and Sports; Science and Technology; Innovation and Education.
In addition, there are two Regional Coordinators (countries elected in ministerial meetings), which are responsible for hosting the meetings of Foreign Ministers and Senior Officials and guiding cooperation proposals and activities.
FEALAC has held seven Foreign Ministers meetings to date, including one in Brasilia in 2007, and eighteen Senior Officials meetings, in addition to several working group meetings.
The 8th meeting of Foreign Ministers took place in Busan, South Korea, on August 31, 2017. On the occasion, the creation of the FEALAC Fund was approved, with activities to begin in 2018. The Fund will be managed by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, and will have the objective of financing cooperation projects to promote closer relations among countries of the two regions. In addition, a New Plan of Action has been approved, establishing troika meetings on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly and business forums.
The 19th Meeting of Senior Officials is scheduled to take place in the last quarter of 2018, in Vietiane, Laos.
FEALAC can play an important role in the international scenario, considering that it brings together regions that are in the full process of development and economic, political and social growth and has the potential to become an essential instrument for deepening Brazil's relations with East Asian and Latin American countries.