He told a virtual business summit organised by ASEAN on October 25 that Canada has long sought a trade deal with the 10-nation bloc.
Speaking in a pre-recorded message, Trudeau said that an agreement with ASEAN would help companies and entrepreneurs build connections and business relationships around the world.
He also said a pact would give investors more confidence to invest in international markets, and protect supply chains from the uncertainties brought by COVID-19.
Trade bottlenecks across the globe have been slower to recover than consumer demand for goods and slowed further by ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks and public health measures.
“As we finish the fight against COVID-19, deepening our ties with ASEAN economies and diversifying trade across the Asia-Pacific will play a crucial role in our recovery,” Trudeau said in his address.
ASEAN is Canada’s sixth largest trading partner. The country has access to four ASEAN members – Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam – through a Pacific Rim trade pact known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
The Liberals’ election platform promised to help businesses take advantage of opportunities under CPTPP, and a new Asia-Pacific strategy aimed at deepening ties in the region, including new trade deals.
According to a preliminary assessment by the Canadian government, an ASEAN-Canada free trade agreement could increase Canadian exports of goods and services to the bloc by 13.3%, valued at US$2.67 billion.