Deeper trade between Canada and Southeast Asia a key priority, Minister Fast says at First Canada-ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting
August 31, 2012 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today announced the creation of the Canada-ASEAN Business Council (CABC), which will focus on growing private-sector cooperation between Canadian and Southeast Asian businesses. The Minister also announced the adoption of a 2012-2015 work plan to deepen trade and investment ties between Canada and ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The announcements were made at the first Canada-ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting held in Siem Reap, Cambodia, on the margins of the 44th ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting.
“As a Pacific nation, strengthening Canada’s ties with Southeast Asia is consistent with our active and growing presence in the Asia-Pacific region and a key part of our government’s broad and ambitious pro-trade plan to create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for hard-working Canadians,” said Minister Fast. “Deepening Canada’s trade and investment ties with ASEAN, which is one of the world’s fastest-growing economic regions and that has a combined GDP of $2.1 trillion, is key to our efforts.”
During an official visit by Minister Fast to Indonesia in October 2011, Canada took an important step toward deeper trade and investment ties with Southeast Asia by adopting a joint declaration of cooperation with ASEAN. The joint declaration called for further cooperation among governments and businesses, including a commitment to exploring ways to deepen economic ties between Canada and ASEAN.
“I’m pleased to announce today that Canada and the ASEAN countries are moving forward on our shared commitment to deepen our commercial ties with the establishment of the Canada-ASEAN Business Council,” said Minister Fast. “The CABC will be dedicated to ensuring that the mutual benefits of deeper trade and investment take the Canada-ASEAN relationship to the next level.”
“The newly established CABC will play an invaluable role in promoting increased trade and investment between Canada and the ASEAN region by providing a platform for businesses to discuss challenges and opportunities,” said Kevin Speed, President of the CABC. “I welcome the opportunity to present the views of our members to Minister Fast and the ASEAN ministers.”
At the ASEAN-Canada meeting, attended by economic ministers from across the region, Minister Fast also took the opportunity to celebrate Canada’s 35 years as a formal Dialogue Partner with ASEAN and to congratulate ASEAN, founded in 1967, on celebrating its 45th anniversary.
“Our 35-year partnership with ASEAN demonstrates the strength of Canada’s relationship with countries throughout Southeast Asia,” said Minister Fast. “With the adoption of this work plan and the establishment of the CABC, we look forward to continuing to deepen our trade and investment ties with ASEAN, which will benefit hardworking Canadians and people throughout the ASEAN region.”
ASEAN ranks as Canada’s seventh-largest merchandise trade partner, with merchandise trade valued at $15.5 billion in 2011. ASEAN comprises Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
For more information on Minister Fast’s visit to Southeast Asia, consult Trade Mission to Southeast Asia.
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A backgrounder on the Canada-ASEAN Business Council follows.
For further information, media representatives may contact:
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway
Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
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The Canada-ASEAN Business Council (CABC) was established to provide a forum for Canadian businesses to promote trade and investment in the ASEAN region, to organize trade missions for members and to serve as an advisory board to senior Canadian policy-makers.
The founding member companies, or CABC executive committee, comprise a number of leading Canadian enterprises that are active in the ASEAN region, including CAE, Research In Motion 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 and representatives of the Canadian chambers of commerce in the ASEAN region.
The CABC is headquartered, registered in and governed by the laws of Singapore.
The following CABC representatives attended the first ASEAN-Canada Economic Ministers Meeting: