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International Trade Minister Deepening Canada’s Ties in Fast-Growing Markets with Trade Mission to Southeast Asia

Minister Fast’s four-nation trade mission includes the first visit to Burma by a Canadian trade minister and sets the stage for deeper trade and economic opportunities for Canadian workers and businesses

August 26, 2012 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today launched a trade mission to Southeast Asia to further deepen Canada’s trade and investment ties in the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region. The trade mission takes place from August 27 to September 3, 2012, and comprises visits to Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Burma.

“Our government’s top priority is the economy—creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for hard-working Canadians and their families,” said Minister Fast. “With one in five Canadian jobs generated by trade, helping Canadian companies expand and succeed in exciting, high-growth markets is a key part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan. At the same time, as responsible corporate citizens, Canadian companies can help anchor development and reforms in developing countries that want and need Canada’s world-class products, services, experience and expertise.”

Following official working visits to Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia, Minister Fast will co-chair the first Canada-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Ministers Meeting. The mission will then head to Burma, marking the first visit by a Canadian trade minister to that emerging economy.

“This year, as we celebrate the 35th anniversary of relations between Canada and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, we are committed to moving our trade and investment relationship with ASEAN forward,” said Minister Fast. “In what remains a fragile global economic climate, our government will continue to ensure that Canadian businesses have access to priority markets. That is why we continue to pursue deeper ties with the world’s largest, most dynamic and fastest-growing economies, as part of the most ambitious trade expansion plan in Canadian history.”

As a group, ASEAN is a market of over 608 million consumers, has a growing middle-class and ranks as Canada’s seventh-largest trading partner. In 2011, annual merchandise trade between Canada and ASEAN reached $15.5 billion, a 17-percent increase from 2007. Also in 2011, the official stock of Canadian direct investment in the ASEAN region was valued at $6.7 billion.

For more information, please visit Trade Mission to Southeast Asia.

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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

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
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