FEALAC was initiated by then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong in 1998 to establish a link between East Asia and Latin America. At that time, both shores of the Pacific were joined through the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) while Europe was linked to Asia through the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). FEALAC was thus formed to bridge the "missing link" between these two regions. The key objectives of FEALAC are:
To increase and improve mutual understanding, trust, political dialogue and friendly cooperation among member states with a view to enriching and sharing experiences, and developing new partnerships;
To tap the potential of multidisciplinary cooperation in areas of economics, trade investment, finance, culture, tourism, science and technology, environmental protection, sport and people-to-people exchange; and
To expand the common ground on important international political and economic issues with a view to working together in different international fora in order to safeguard common interests.
The FEALAC Framework Document was adopted by member countries at the inaugural FEALAC Ministerial Meeting (FMM I) from 29-30 March 2001 in Santiago, Chile. Three Working Groups were also established during FMM I. The objectives of the Working Groups are to strengthen dialogue and cooperation through the initiation of FEALAC-wide projects in the fields of politics, culture, education, economy, society, education and science and technology.
The 36 countries participating in FEALAC are:
Latin America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.
East Asia: Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Mongolia. As founding member of FEALAC, Singapore has been an active participant of the FEALAC process. Singapore hosted the inaugural FEALAC Senior Officials' Meeting in September 1999 and the Third FEALAC Political, Cultural and Education Working Group Meeting from 9-10 September 2004. Singapore also played a supporting role at Second Senior Officials and First Ministerial Meetings in March 2001 in Santiago, Chile.
Singapore has also undertaken several initiatives to foster greater trans-Pacific cooperation through FEALAC, such as:
Singapore has organised the FEALAC Journalists' Visit Programme (JVP) since 2000. To date, journalists from Argentina (7), Brazil (9), Chile (6), Colombia (5), Costa Rica (2), Cuba (2), Dominican Republic (1), Ecuador (1), El Salvador (1), Mexico (4), Panama (1), Paraguay (1) and Peru (6) have participated in the JVP.
Singapore launched the FEALAC Young Parliamentarians Forum (YPF) on 22 August 2005.
Singapore has a dedicated Singapore Cooperation Programme for FEALAC countries.
Singapore participated in the Eleventh Senior Officials Meeting (SOM XI) and the various Working Group and sub-Working Group Meetings held in Bali, Indonesia from 1 to 3 November 2010. The meetings discussed the future direction of FEALAC and the various FEALAC projects in the fields of politics, culture, education, economics, tourism, sports and technology.
Singapore hosted the 11th FEALAC JVP from 20 to 24 September 2010, in conjunction with the 10th Latin-Asia Business Forum. The jounalists were also invited to attend briefings at various ministries and statutary boards. Singapore will be hosting the 12th JVP in October 2011.
Singapore participated in the Tenth Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM X) and Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Zainul Abidin Rasheed represented Singapore at the Fourth Foreign Ministers' Meeting (FMM IV) held in Tokyo, Japan from 14 to 17 January 2010. The meetings discussed the need for strengthening cooperation among the member countries and welcomed Mongolia as the newest FEALAC member.