Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
ASEAN is a regional inter-governmental organization. It was founded by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand on August 8, 1967, and was later joined by Brunei (1984), Vietnam (1995), Burma and Laos (1997) and Cambodia (1999). The objectives of ASEAN are to promote regional peace and security and to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development. The ASEAN Secretariat provides coordination and implementation of ASEAN projects and activities in support of member states. ASEAN’s immediate goal is to become an economic community by the end of 2015.
Canada became a Dialogue Partner of the ASEAN in 1977. We have enjoyed positive and fruitful relations ever since, with cooperation on political and security issues, regional integration, economic interests, interfaith dialogue, transnational crime and counterterrorism, and disaster risk reduction, among other areas.
Canada has built significantly on its relationship with ASEAN in recent years. In 2009, Canada appointed its first Ambassador to ASEAN. In 2010, Canada acceded to ASEAN’s peace treaty, the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC). Canada and ASEAN have also adopted the Joint Declaration on ASEAN-Canada Enhanced Partnership, which is now being implemented through the ASEAN-Canada Plan of Action (2010-2015). At the ASEAN Regional Forum and Post-Ministerial Conference in Cambodia in July 2012, Minister Baird provided an update on Canada-ASEAN relations and announced the establishment of a new $10 million Fund for Canada-ASEAN initiatives.
Trade and Investment Linkages
Canada recognizes the enormous potential of the economic opportunities in growing
and emerging markets, including Southeast Asia. As a group, ASEAN would represent Canada’s 7th largest trading partner, an important commercial ally and a priority market for Canada. Bilateral trade has increased by over 9% over the last five years (2012 figures) and ASEAN foreign direct investment in Canada grew over four-fold in the five year period ending in 2011. Canada invests more in the ASEAN region than in China and India combined, registering about $7.7 billion (stock).
Canada is also delighted to have concluded the first commercial instrument with ASEAN: the ASEAN-Canada Joint Declaration on Trade and Investment, adopted in October 2011. It provides a platform for regular exchanges of information on commercial opportunities, and for exploring ways to expand and promote trade and investment between Canada and ASEAN.
The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, announced in August 2012 the creation of the Canada-ASEAN Business Council (CABC), which will focus on growing private-sector cooperation between Canadian and Southeast Asian businesses.
The ASEAN region represented the source of over 14% of Canada’s permanent residents in 2012. Over 37,700 permanent residents came to Canada from ASEAN countries that year — an increase of 37% from five years before.
According to preliminary estimates, over 9,750 students from ASEAN countries studied in Canada in 2012, up over 18% from 2010.
There were 17,600 foreign workers from ASEAN countries in Canada in 2012. This represents more than 8% of the total number of all foreign workers in Canada.
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