Minister Fast Announces Trade and Investment Framework that will Deepen Canada’s Ties with Southeast Asia

Southeast Asian region among the fastest growing in the world

(No. 281 – October 2, 2011 – 10:55 a.m. ET) The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today took an important step forward in deepening Canada’s economic ties with Southeast Asia by adopting a joint declaration of cooperation with ASEAN, the Association of South East Asian Nations, during an official visit to Indonesia.

“Our government is committed to opening new markets for Canadian businesses in Southeast Asia, which we know will sustain and create jobs and prosperity for hard-working citizens both in ASEAN countries and in Canada,” said Minister Fast. “This joint declaration is our first trade and investment framework with ASEAN and is another example of our government’s job-creating, pro-trade plan.”

The joint declaration calls for further cooperation among governments and businesses and represents a commitment by Canada and the ASEAN countries to explore other ways to deepen economic ties.

‪‪Southeast Asia is a region of significant and growing economic importance to Canada and is a priority market under the Harper government’s Global Commerce Strategy. It has approximately 600 million consumers, a growing middle class and abundant natural resources.

In 2010, annual two-way merchandise trade between Canada and ASEAN reached $13.8 billion. As a group, it ranks as Canada’s seventh-largest merchandise trade partner.

‪“The economic opportunities for Canadian businesses and workers in this key market are great,” said Minister Fast.

“In these uncertain global economic times, long-term economic growth and good jobs are best protected and created by broadening and deepening our trading relationships and removing trade barriers.

“We understand that trade has a direct impact on people’s lives—on their jobs and on their families’ financial security.

“That is why Canada is committed to securing more trade and investment frameworks like this with our friends around the world,” the Minister added.

In less than six years, the Harper government has concluded new free trade agreements with nine countries: Colombia, Honduras, Jordan, Panama, Peru and the four members of the European Free Trade Association.

Next year, Canada celebrates 35 years as a formal Dialogue Partner with ASEAN, which was founded in 1967.

For more information on the Joint Declaration on Trade and Investment, please visit: A Joint Declaration Between ASEAN and Canada on Trade and Investment. ‪

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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 and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway
613-992-7332

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-996-2000
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