Minister Fast Continues Sustained Engagement with ASEAN

Four-day trade and development mission to Laos and Burma to strengthen commercial and economic ties

August 26, 2014 - Vientiane, Laos - Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, today kicked off a trade and development mission to Laos and Burma from August 26 to 29, 2014, to continue to build stronger economic ties with the region and with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Minister Fast’s first official visit to Laos also represents a milestone in the bilateral relationship; it will be the first time in history that a Canadian trade minister has visited the country. Through meetings with government officials and representatives of Canadian companies operating in Laos, Minister Fast will also highlight opportunities to deepen trade and bilateral relations between our countries.

In Burma, Minister Fast will participate in the third ASEAN Economic Ministers-Canada Consultations and will continue Canada’s sustained engagement with the 10 ASEAN member nations on trade, investment and economic ties.

Including his visit to Laos, Minister Fast will have led trade missions to all 10 members of ASEAN, a priority objective under the Global Markets Action Plan. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has also visited every ASEAN member nation. Together, Ministers Fast and Baird are engaging comprehensively with ASEAN in supporting human rights, improving regional security, reducing transnational crime, and increasing trade and investment opportunities.

The four-day, two-country trade and development mission will be Minister Fast’s fourth visit to Asia this year and his 16th visit to Asia in total.

Quick Facts

  • The 10-member ASEAN bloc consists of Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.  
  • In 2013, Canada-ASEAN merchandise trade grew by 7.3 percent, amounting to almost $17 billion. It has increased by 30.3 percent over the last five years.
  • In August 2012, Minister Fast announced the creation of the Canada-ASEAN Business Council, which focuses on increasing private sector cooperation between Canadian and ASEAN businesses.
  • In September 2013, Minister Fast led a trade mission to Burma, following his announcement of a permanent, full-time Canadian trade commissioner at Canada’s embassy in Burma.
  • In August 2014, during the ASEAN-Canada Post-Ministerial Conference, Minister Baird announced the expansion of Canada’s diplomatic footprint in the region to include resident representation in Laos, bringing a Canadian presence to all 10 ASEAN member states. Baird had earlier announced a new, dedicated Canadian ambassador to ASEAN.

Quotes

“Our government made a point of engaging with ASEAN, a group of countries that represent important markets for Canadian business. We will continue to advance Canada’s interests throughout the dynamic and fast-growing Asia-Pacific region in order to support job creation and economic growth back home.”

- Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade

Associated Links

Contacts

Shannon Gutoskie
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade
613-992-7332

Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
343-203-7700
media@international.gc.ca
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