Canada’s Minister of International Trade, Mary Ng, traveled to Siem Reap, Cambodia last week, where she met with economic ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Minister Ng welcomed the recently-completed first round of negotiations toward a Canada-ASEAN free trade agreement, which will represent a key element of Canada’s renewed trade and economic engagement in the Indo-Pacific region.
Canada and ASEAN agreed to proceed with free trade agreement negotiations in November 2021 .
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional intergovernmental organization comprising 10 member states. Established by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand in 1967, it was later joined by Brunei, Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Vietnam.
In 2021, ASEAN was Canada’s fourth-largest trading partner, with Canada-ASEAN merchandise trade valued at US$25 billion.
Minister Ng underscored that Canada and ASEAN share important interests, including regional stability, rules-based trade, and inclusive economic growth. The minister reiterated that Canada, as a Pacific-facing nation, has been deeply engaged in the region and it would be beneficial to all parties for the relationship to be elevated to the Strategic Partner level this year.