Ministers Baird and Fast Mark ASEAN Day

Ministerial travel to Southeast Asia emphasizes importance of region to Canada

August 8, 2013 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, today marked the 46th anniversary of the founding of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) by reiterating the importance of the region to Canada. Minister Fast also announced that he will participate in the ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting in Brunei from August 20 to 21, 2013.

“We congratulate the people of Southeast Asia on this important occasion,” said Minister Fast. “Canada’s relationship with ASEAN has expanded significantly over the past three and a half decades. I want our partnership to grow even stronger through deeper trade and investment ties.”

At the regional meeting, Minister Fast will meet with his counterparts, co-chair the second ASEAN consultation with Canada and meet with members of the Canada-ASEAN Business Council. He will also deliver remarks at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, which will take place on the margins of the meeting.

Canada’s strategic partnership with ASEAN has grown significantly since Canada established formal ties with the organization 36 years ago. Minister Baird recently travelled to the region to participate in the annual ASEAN-Canada Post Ministerial Conference and ASEAN Regional Forum. During the meeting, Baird announced details of additional funding commitments for ASEAN-Canada cooperative initiatives, including three development initiatives.

“The level of cooperation and engagement that underpins ASEAN-Canada relations is growing every year and keeps getting stronger,” said Baird. “Canada continues to be a significant contributor to ASEAN’s community-building objectives, and we will continue to increase our engagement to its fullest potential.”

Known as ASEAN Day, today’s anniversary marks the day that the ASEAN Declaration was signed in 1967. The association focuses on accelerating economic growth, social progress and cultural development among its members, as well as on protecting regional peace and stability.

ASEAN comprises 10 Southeast Asian countries—Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam—representing a market of more than 615 million consumers.

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