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Speaking Points by Minister Fast to Canadian Media to Wrap Up Asian Visit

No. 2011/35 - Jakarta, Indonesia - October 3, 2011

Check Against Delivery

I have just completed a highly successful official working visit to Japan and Indonesia, where I made four trade-related announcements and assisted Canadian businesses that are seeking new economic opportunities in Asia. These opportunities will benefit workers and the families they support back home.

During my visit I 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 will benefit air travellers, the tourism industry, 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) that seeks to explore ways to deepen our economic ties.

While in Japan, I also visited the Sendai region, which was devastated by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami and offered condolences on behalf of the people of Canada.

Here in Indonesia, I was pleased to participate in the grand opening of Manulife Financial’s new office in Jakarta.

Manulife is one of the biggest Canadian success stories in Indonesia, and was named Indonesia’s best life insurance company in 2010. It is a great example of Canada’s capabilities and our commitment to increasing Canada’s economic ties in this region.

The opportunities for small and large Canadian businesses looking to expand and do business here are great.

In fact, I was joined this week by a top-notch Canadian business delegation, representing sectors like infrastructure, information and communications technology, and mining.

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. In fact, it is Canada’s seventh-largest trade partner.

We want to expand our trading relationships with the ASEAN countries, Japan and other key markets in Asia, and that is what this visit is about.

As a trading partner, Canada has a lot to offer.

In the meetings I had with Japanese, Indonesian and ASEAN leaders, I told them about Canada’s many economic advantages: our great growth prospects; our low-tax business environment; our talented, well-educated, multicultural workforce; and of course, our commitment to broadening and deepening our trading relationships around the world.

Our government 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 our country.

Our government’s top priority remains completing the economic recovery and protecting and creating jobs.

With one in five Canadian jobs dependent on trade, increasing our trade and investment ties with Asia are key to protecting and strengthening the financial security of Canadians and ensuring Canada’s economic growth.

That’s been the focus of my visit: to tell our partners in Asia about our strong commitment to increasing our economic cooperation, deepen our trading relationship, increase our two-way investment and help Canadian workers and businesses that are looking to expand and succeed in these high-growth markets.

Thank you.