Minister Fast Concludes Successful Trade Mission with ASEAN Officials

Strengthening Canada-ASEAN trade and investment ties to create jobs and opportunities

August 28, 2014 - Yangon, Burma - Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, today highlighted ongoing economic, trade and diplomatic relations with member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at the conclusion of his four-day trade mission to Laos and Burma.

In addition to taking part in business and government-to-government discussions in both countries, Minister Fast also participated in the third ASEAN Economic Ministers-Canada Consultations, where ministers released a joint statement pointing to the progress under the 2011 Joint Declaration between ASEAN and Canada on Trade and Investment. Highlights include the June 2014 trade mission by ASEAN ministers to Vancouver and Toronto, the decision to establish a diplomatic mission to ASEAN headed by Canada’s first dedicated ambassador to ASEAN, and continued support to the Canada-ASEAN Business Council to facilitate the development of small and medium-sized enterprises in both the trading bloc and Canada.

Burma, a priority market under Canada’s Global Markets Action Plan (GMAP), offers a number of opportunities for Canadian businesses in infrastructure, information and communications technologies, mining and oil and gas—all of which are designated in GMAP as priority sectors.

Under Canada’s ambitious pro-trade plan, Canadian businesses have access to a variety of tools to assist them in creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity. These include on-the-ground trade commissioners, together with sector-based trade missions, free trade agreements and foreign investment promotion and protection agreements. Businesses can further benefit from the expertise of Export Development Canada and the Canadian Commercial Corporation.

Since assuming the international trade portfolio in May 2011, Minister Fast has led trade missions to Asia 16 times, reflecting the importance Canada attaches to the region as an important foreign policy and commercial priority. With this mission, Minister Fast has taken Canada’s pro-trade message to all 10 ASEAN countries and also became the first Canadian trade minister to visit Laos, an ASEAN member country and an emerging market for Canadian goods and companies.

Quick Facts

  • Canada has increased its trade commissioner network in ASEAN countries to identify business opportunities for Canadian companies.
  • For more than 35 years, the ASEAN-Canada relationship has expanded and deepened.
  • In August 2012, Canada launched the Canada-ASEAN Business Council (CABC) to grow trade and investment ties. The CABC held the first Canada-ASEAN Business Forum in Singapore in October 2013.
  • Two-way merchandise trade with Burma totalled $16.8 million in 2013.
  • Top exports to Burma are food by-products and feed, machinery, and aluminum and related products. Top imports from that country are legumes, fish and apparel.
  • In 2014, Burma was confirmed as a country of focus for the Government of Canada’s international development efforts.

Quotes

“Strengthening economic ties with ASEAN and opening new markets for our exporters are part of the Government of Canada’s ambitious pro-trade plan to create jobs and opportunities for hard-working Canadians and businesses. This is why I continue to advance Canada’s interests throughout that dynamic and fast-growing region. ASEAN’s growing middle class, talented workforce, abundance of natural resources and strong economic growth are all underpinnings of a more comprehensive ASEAN-Canada relationship.”

- Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade

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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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