Baird to Make Fourth Asia Visit

July 6, 2012 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today announced that he will travel to China and Southeast Asia from July 7 to 22, 2012, to take part in a wide range of meetings with government officials and businesses.

“The tides of global affairs are quickly and fundamentally changing, with profound implications,” said Baird. “Strong trade winds are swirling across the Asia-Pacific region, and Canada, as a Pacific nation, will be a major player in these exciting times.”

Minister Baird will begin his trip in Hong Kong, where he will meet with government officials and business leaders. On July 11 and 12, Minister Baird will be in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum and to co-chair the Canada-ASEAN ministerial meeting. At these meetings, he and his counterparts will discuss prominent global and regional issues, including the situation on the Korean Peninsula, maritime security, economic prosperity, and the promotion of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law around the world. Participation in this important forum demonstrates Canada’s active engagement in the Asia-Pacific region and the government’s focus on economic growth and long-term prosperity for Canadians.

“With approximately one million immigrants from the ASEAN region, Canada has strong people-to-people links with the area,” said Baird. “Canada and ASEAN have reached a milestone in their enduring partnership. This year’s theme of ‘35 Years of Partnership and Friendship’ perfectly captures the strong bond that exists between Canada and the ASEAN region.”

The Canada-ASEAN relationship is based on friendship, economic and people ties, mutual security interests and, increasingly, a belief in democracy, human rights and the rule of law. This year, Canada marks the 35th anniversary of ASEAN-Canada relations. In 2011, Canada-ASEAN merchandise trade was valued at $15.5 billion, making ASEAN countries, as a group, Canada’s seventh-largest trading partner.

Baird’s Asian tour will also include stops in Brunei Darussalam, the Philippines and Shanghai, with the aim of enhancing relations and advancing Canadian interests and Canadian values.

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