Harper Government Continues to Deepen Canada’s Economic Ties in Southeast Asia

Minister Fast highlights the success of the Canada-ASEAN Business Council

August 20, 2013 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, today highlighted the role the Canada-ASEAN Business Council (CABC) is playing to deepen trade and investment ties between Canada and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) during the council’s inaugural year. Minister Fast is in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, to represent Canada at the ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting and to help Canadian companies continue to expand their presence in this fast-growing region.
“Our government’s ambitious pro-trade plan is focused on creating jobs and prosperity for Canadian workers and families by deepening Canada’s ties with the largest, most dynamic and fastest-growing economies in the world,” said Minister Fast. “ASEAN countries offer tremendous opportunities for Canadian businesses to grow their exports, and the CABC is working with the public and private sectors to identify opportunities and make it easier and more profitable for Canadian companies to do business in the region.”

“The CABC appreciates the support of the Government of Canada, Minister Fast and Canada’s trade commissioners throughout the region during our first year,” said Kevin Speed, president of the CABC. “Our goal is to continue raising awareness in Canada about the benefits of increased economic ties with ASEAN.”

While in Brunei, Minister Fast pointed to other efforts by the Government of Canada to support Canadian business activities in Southeast Asia, including the addition of a new trade officer in Burma. He also announced the availability of new, in-depth sectoral reports compiled by Canada’s trade commissioners at embassies and high commissions in the region. The first three reports focus on aerospace, infrastructure, and information and communications technology and provide valuable information on the ASEAN market in these sectors.

Minister Fast is in Brunei on August 20 and 21 to attend the second ASEAN-Canada Economic Ministers Meeting and the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, being held on the margins of the ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting. He will participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Ministerial Meeting, which is also being held in Brunei, on August 22 and 23.

Canada-ASEAN bilateral merchandise trade expanded by 19.2 percent from 2007 to 2012—an average of 3.6 percent each year.
For more information on what Canada’s trade commissioners can do to help Canadian business in ASEAN, please see The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service: Our Services.

For more information on Minister Fast’s visit to Brunei, please see Minister Fast Visits Brunei.

Photo: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei - Minister Fast (centre right) and Kevin Speed, president of the Canada-ASEAN Business Council (CABC) (centre left), together with members of the CABC executive committee, Canada’s ambassador to Indonesia and to ASEAN, Donald Bobiash (fourth from left), and Canada’s high commissioner to Brunei, Marcel Gaumond (far left).

Download this photo.

A backgrounder on the CABC and its achievements during 2012-13 follows.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Rudy Husny
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade

Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
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Backgrounder - Canada-ASEAN Business Council

The Canada-ASEAN Business Council (CABC) was established in 2012 to provide a forum for Canadian businesses to establish trade and investment links in the ASEAN region, to organize trade missions for members and to serve as an advisory board for senior Canadian policy-makers.

Minister Fast launched the CABC in 2012 at the first ASEAN-Canada Economic Ministers Meeting in Cambodia. It was identified as part of the 2012-2015 ASEAN-Canada workplan to implement the Joint Declaration on Trade and Investment.

The CABC executive committee is comprised of representatives of the founding member companies, which include leading Canadian enterprises active in the ASEAN region, such as CAE, Celestica, BlackBerry and the Bank of Nova Scotia. Membership in the CABC is open to Canadian companies conducting business or considering doing business in the ASEAN region, as well as representatives of Canadian chambers of commerce in the ASEAN region. It is based in Singapore.

Achievements of the CABC during 2012-13 include:

  • The completion of a study of business opportunities in ASEAN that identifies six sectors where Canadian companies may find a favourable environment: aerospace, agri-food, automotive, cleantech, information and communications technology, and oil and gas.
  • The launch of a survey of Canadian companies to gather feedback on what challenges they face in the region and what can be done to help them overcome these challenges. Input for this survey is being accepted until August 28, 2013.
  • The organization of a major business forum in October 2013 in Singapore that will bring together government and business leaders to evaluate the results of the study and the survey and provide guidance for the CABC’s agenda moving forward.