Canada wants to deepen trade ties with ASEAN

A free trade agreement between the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) and Canada will be a win-win for all sides, particularly in the context of economies that are struggling to come out of the pandemic, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (Photo: AFP/VNA Photo)
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (Photo: AFP/VNA Photo)

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.