Canada’s Ambassador to ASEAN’s Message

Welcome to Canada’s Mission to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). I am deeply honoured to serve as Canada’s first dedicated Ambassador to ASEAN. Having started my career in Southeast Asia, I am proud to once again represent Canada in this dynamic and thriving region.

Since 1977, Canada and ASEAN have developed a strong and comprehensive relationship. Through political, security, economic and socio-cultural cooperation, as well as educational and people-to-people ties, the relationship continues to grow day by day. In 2017, we celebrate an important milestone, 40 years of dialogue partnership.

In recent years, Canada has strengthened its engagement with the region, organization and its member states. Canada supports a series of development and security programs with a total value of more than $235 million per year for ASEAN and its member states. Trade between Canada and the region is booming, and our shared goal is to double ASEAN-Canada bilateral trade and investment by 2020. Achieving this ambitious target will take our relationship to new heights.

Canada now has a permanent, resident diplomatic presence in all 10 ASEAN member states. Our Mission to ASEAN was launched in 2016 and we opened offices in Cambodia and Lao PDR in August 2015. This completed our diplomatic presence in the region, following the opening of our first resident diplomatic mission in Burma (Myanmar) in 2013.

Canada is leveraging its diplomatic resources in the region to support the Philippines, ASEAN Chair for 2017, as well as ASEAN member states and the ASEAN Secretariat, in realizing the ASEAN Community’s full potential. We are pleased to be working with the Philippines as our Coordinating country until 2018.

Canada is committed to strengthening its engagement with ASEAN and its member states through ongoing collaboration, and we are delighted by the endorsement, made during the summer of 2015, of the new 2016-2020 ASEAN-Canada Plan of Action. This document sets a clear path for our joint cooperation over the next five years, and Canada looks forward to working with ASEAN on its successful implementation. In August 2016, we launched an annual Canada-ASEAN trade policy dialogue and the tasked senior officials to prepare terms of reference for a Canada-ASEAN free trade agreement feasibility study.  The feasibility study will provide Canada and ASEAN countries with an assessment of the potential economic impact of an FTA, and will help inform next steps.

As Canada’s Ambassador to ASEAN, I am eager to further enhance our relationship with ASEAN and to explore new areas for cooperation. This includes ensuring that Canada joins the East Asia Summit at the earliest opportunity.

I invite you to visit our website for up-to-date information about our programming, and I encourage you to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to receive frequent updates on the activities of the ASEAN Mission.

Marie-Louise Hannan