Economic and Commercial Engagement

Canada’s commercial presence in the Asia-Pacific region dates back to 1895, when our first trade commissioner was posted to Australia. Canada, as a Pacific country, has intensified its engagement with Asia Pacific, one of the world’s most dynamic regions. Asia-Pacific accounts for half of the world’s population. The Government of Canada has prioritized key trade initiatives in its effort to increase market access and strengthen partnerships in Asia, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Canada-Japan Economic Partnership, the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with India, the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement, and exploratory discussions toward a Canada-Thailand free trade agreement.

Fast facts

  • Over 750 Canadian companies already do business in India.
  • Japan is Canada’s largest foreign direct investment partner in Asia in 2012. More than 330 Japanese subsidiaries in Canada employ tens of thousands of Canadians, particularly in the automotive sector.
  • Asia-Pacific countries hold four of the top ten positions as the largest sources of international students in Canada: China (first), India (second), Korea (third) and Japan (seventh).
  • China is Canada’s second-largest trading partner, after the United States.
  • More Canadian direct investment goes to ASEAN members than to either China or India.
  • Australia is the fifth-largest global destination for Canadian direct investment abroad.


  • Since 2006, the Government of Canada has partnered with the four western provinces, municipalities and the private sector to announce Asia-Pacific Gateway infrastructure projects worth $3.3 billion, including federal contributions exceeding $1.4 billion.
  • In August 2012, Canada announced the creation of the Canada-ASEAN Business Council, which focuses on advancing private-sector cooperation between Canadian and southeast Asian businesses.
  • Canada and China signed a foreign investment promotion and protection agreement (FIPA) in September 2012. Both countries are moving forward with their respective domestic ratification processes to bring this agreement into force. Once implemented, the FIPA will provide stronger protection to Canadians investing in China, and facilitate the creation of jobs and economic growth in Canada.
  • In September 2013, Canada and India completed the exchange of diplomatic notes, which is the final step in bringing into force the 2010 Canada-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement.