Trade with Asia Key to Canada’s Long-term Prosperity and Growth, Says International Trade Minister Ed Fast

Minister Wraps Up Successful Trade Visit to Japan and Indonesia

(No. 282 - October 3, 2011 - 11:25 a.m. ET) The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today wrapped up a trade visit to Japan and Indonesia during which he made four trade-related announcements, and assisted Canadian businesses seeking out new economic opportunities in the region.

“Our government’s top priority is completing the economic recovery and protecting and creating jobs,” said Minister Fast. “With one in five Canadian jobs dependent on trade, increasing our trade and investment ties with Asia is key to protecting and strengthening the financial security of Canadians and ensuring Canada’s economic growth.”

During his visit, Minister Fast announced:

  • Canada’s signing of the historic Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which will combat trade in counterfeit and pirated goods while helping ensure innovation- and knowledge-based prosperity;
  • an expanded air transport agreement between Canada and Japan, which will help deepen Canada’s important trade and investment relationship with Japan and benefit air travellers, workers and businesses;
  • an agreement to enhance cooperation between Canada and Japan’s science and technology sectors; and
  • a trade and investment framework with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to increase Canada’s trade and investment ties in the region.

“These announcements will help open new markets for Canadian businesses in Asia, as well as protect intellectual property rights and foster innovation- and knowledge-based prosperity,” said Minister Fast. “The Government of Canada will continue to pursue new opportunities in markets around the world, because we know that when Canadian businesses succeed abroad, they create jobs, prosperity and other benefits for Canadian families in every region of the country.”

Minister Fast began his visit in Japan, where he visited the Sendai region, which was devastated by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. He toured the affected areas to offer condolences on behalf of Canada and announced the “Hope for Youth” scholarships, which will allow many Japanese students whose lives were affected by the disaster to study in Canada.

In Indonesia, the Minister participated in the grand opening of Manulife Financial’s new office in Jakarta. Manulife is one of Canada’s biggest success stories and was named Indonesia’s best life insurance company in 2010.

“Increased trade and investment improves the financial security and quality of life of hard-working people around the world. Manulife Financial’s insurance services deliver these benefits to Indonesians, as well as creating and sustaining jobs and prosperity both here and in Canada,” said Minister Fast. “The 26-year history and robust growth of this Canadian firm in Indonesia is a prime example of Canada's commitment and capabilities. We are proud to be working to deepen and broaden our relationship with Indonesia and to celebrate the continuing growth of Manulife Indonesia.”

As the world’s third-largest economy and Canada’s fourth-largest merchandise export market, Japan is an important economic partner. So too is Indonesia, which is Canada’s largest merchandise export market in Southeast Asia. Last year, Indonesia’s economy grew by over six percent.

ASEAN represents one of the fastest growing economic regions in the world. In 2010, annual Canada-ASEAN two-way merchandise trade reached $13.8 billion. Despite the global economic slowdown, the stock of Canadian investment in ASEAN increased by 18.1 percent from 2009 to reach $7.9 billion in 2010, reflecting growing interest in a region that offers significant potential to Canadian investors.

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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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