Former Minister for Trade
Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

Trade Minister to boost links with Latin America

Media release

8 April 2010

Trade Minister Simon Crean departs today on a visit to Latin America to boost links with one of the fastest-growing regions in the world.

Mr Crean will visit Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Brazil as well as Uruguay where he will co-chair a meeting of the Cairns Group meeting to advance the Doha Round.

In Chile, Mr Crean will visit an earthquake reconstruction site and will be the first Australian minister to visit Chile since the devastating earthquake on February 27.

“I will convey Australia's sympathy to the new government of President Sebastian Piñera for the loss of life and destruction caused by the earthquake and discuss Chile's plans for reconstruction,” Mr Crean said.

The Australian Government has provided $5 million in emergency and reconstruction assistance.

Latin America is home to 540 million people and the International Monetary Fund is forecasting economic growth of 2.9 per cent in 2010.

“Latin America has tremendous potential as a regional trading partner for Australia,” Mr Crean said. “I will be pursuing opportunities for Australia in mining, energy and clean energy during this visit.”

In Mexico, Mr Crean will participate in a high-level meeting of the Joint Trade and Investment Commission with his Mexican counterpart, Gerardo Ruiz.  A concurrent bilateral business forum will advise the ministers on building bilateral trade and investment.  

Central to his visit to Uruguay will be a meeting of the Cairns Group which is made up of 19 agriculture exporting nations. The meeting will take place on April 19 and 20 in Punta del Este.

“The key challenge for the Group will be to assess ways to progress the Doha Round,” Mr Crean said.

“I am delighted that the newly appointed US chief negotiator on the Doha Round, Michael Punke, will join us for the Cairns Group meeting along with World Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy.”

In Argentina, Mr Crean will promote Australia's capabilities in clean energy and mining technology.

Mr Crean will be joined in Argentina and Brazil by a Clean Energy Business Mission being organised by the Council on Australia Latin America Relations.

Mr Crean will meet with Brazil's External Relations Minister, Dr Celso Amorim, in Brasilia on 22 April. Brazil is the tenth largest economy in the world and the Australian Government is keen to progress commercial links with Brazil.

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