SINGAPORE: Singapore is committed to expanding its relationship with Latin America and Brazil, said Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam on Thursday.
Both sides should also do more to encourage greater flows of trade, goods, people and services going forward, he added.
"We should lower barriers to trade. No country, big or small, can put up such barriers and hope to have a self-sustaining economy... The way for prosperity for our people is to build on our respective strengths and compete in the world,” the minister said.
Mr Shanmugam was speaking in Sao Paulo on his first official visit to Brazil.
The minister said Latin America and Asia have been the two fastest-growing continents in the 21st century, and face similar development challenges. "Our governments now have to address complex problems, while juggling competing demands for finite resources,” he acknowledged.
He outlined how both regions can leverage on each other's strengths to find solutions to these challenges, and highlighted how Brazil could tap on Singapore's role as an economic, financial and transport hub to explore opportunities and expand its presence in Asia.
Mr Shanmugam said that the opening of Singapore's Embassy in Brasilia, Singapore's first in Latin America, is also a concrete signal of Singapore's long-term interest in Brazil and the rest of Latin America.