Canada and the Asia-Pacific
Canada is committed to playing a key role in the Asia-Pacific region, now and in the long term. We are working with global, regional and local partners to:
- build partnerships;
- strengthen economic ties;
- provide development assistance.
The Asia-Pacific region has a growing role in the global economy and politics. Events in the Asia-Pacific region are of critical importance to a broad range of Canadian goals, including prosperity, development, inclusion, sustainability, peace, and security.
Canada seeks to strengthen its relationships across Asia and the Pacific. We increased our presence on the ground with 10 new offices in China and India since 2006, committed new resources to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and appointed Canada’s first-ever resident ambassador to Myanmar in March 2013.
Canada actively works with key organizations that share common interests in the Asia-Pacific region, including:
- Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
- Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
- Asian Development Bank
- The World Bank
- The International Finance Corporation
- Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
- International Labour Organization
- The Aga Khan Foundation
- The Canadian Red Cross
- North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (NPAFC)
- Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC)
- North Pacific Fisheries Commission (NPFC)
Economic and trade relations
The Canada-Asia-Pacific relationship is important to Canadian trade and investment:
- China is Canada’s second-largest trading partner
- Japan is Canada's fourth-largest trading partner and largest source of foreign direct investment from Asia and sixth globally
- Australia is the eighth-largest global destination for Canadian direct investment abroad
- In 2017, two-way merchandise trade between Canada and India reached $8 billion and reached $23 billion between Canada and ASEAN's 10 member countries
Canada has prioritized key trade initiatives, including:
- Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership
- Exploratory discussions on a possible Canada-China Free Trade Agreement
- Canada-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement
- Canada-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement Negotiations
- Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement
- Exploratory discussions for a possible Canada-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement
- Canada-Thailand Exploratory Free Trade Discussions
- Pacific Alliance Free Trade Agreement Negotiations
Canada is committed to promoting a progressive approach to trade that fosters open markets, creates jobs, helps business become more competitive and drives growth across the Asia-Pacific region. To this end, Canada is working to ensure that trade discussions are informed by, and respond to, issues such as workers’ rights, the environment, gender equality and reinforcing the continued right of governments to regulate in the public interest.
Canada’s development assistance programming in Asia began in the 1950s and remains an important component of our engagement in many developing Asia-Pacific countries. From our early support to help countries to meet basic human needs, Canadian assistance has evolved to provide targeted technical assistance to support institutional reforms necessary for sustainable poverty reduction. Today, Canadian programs help Asian nations develop their capacity to address the region's most pressing challenges:
- reducing poverty;
- increasing gender equality and empowering women and girls;
- strengthening governance, promoting human dignity, and protecting the environment.
Canada maintains an active development assistance presence in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam, as well as across southeast Asia. Canada also supports multilateral and global programs in Asia.
- Canada and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
- Canada and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
- Canada-Asia Trade and Investment for Growth Regional Program
- Canada-Japan Joint Economic Committee
- Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada
- Canada China Business Council
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