ASEAN Economic Ministers Conclude Road- show in Canada

ASEAN on Canada RoadshowToronto – A delegation of ASEAN high-level economic officials led by Dr. Kan Zaw, Union Minister for National Planning and Economic Development of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and Chairman of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Council, visited Canada from 2-5 June to further enhance trade and investment relations between the two sides. The delegation visited Vancouver and Toronto.

“This roadshow to Canada by the ASEAN Economic Ministers sets another significant milestone in ASEAN’s relationship with Canada, one of ASEAN’s oldest Dialogue Partners, and affirms ASEAN and Canada’s commitment to strengthen trade and economic relations,” said Dr. Lim Hong Hin, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Economic Community. “Canada is a big potential market for ASEAN given its natural resources and (it) also serves as a gateway into North American market through the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The Canadian businesses should also seize the opportunities availed under the ASEAN Economic Community,” DSG Lim added.

The delegation participated in a number of trade and investment fora, including Luncheon on “Natural Gas Opportunities in the Pacific Century” to discuss the potential of British Columbia’s natural gas and opportunities for energy linkages between Canada and ASEAN; the Roundtable with Asia Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative of Canada to discuss cooperation on policy and operational issues to support stronger ASEAN-Canada trade-related transport connectivity; meeting with the Toronto Centre and the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnership to discuss cooperation in financial services and promoting Public-Private Partnerships in infrastructure financing; meeting with executive officers of the MaRS Discovery District, Grand Challenges of Canada and International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada to discuss cooperation in promoting innovation and science and technology development; and meeting with business leaders of the Canada-ASEAN Business Council and Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada to promote trade and investment relations.

The delegation also had a tour of Port Metro Vancouver, visit to both Niagara Region Economic Development and Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban University.

The delegation called on Christy Clark, Premier of the Province of British Colombia, and met with high-ranking officials of Canada, including Edward Fast, Minister of International Trade of Canada, and Teresa Wat, Minister for International Trade and Minister Responsible for Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism of the Province of British Columbia.

Canada is ASEAN’s 9th largest trading partner and 8th largest source of foreign direct investment. Trade between ASEAN and Canada grew at a significant pace, recording an annual average growth of 21% between 2005 and 2008.

Due to the global financial crisis and economic downturn, trade flows dipped to 15.8% in 2009 but rebounded quickly in 2010. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from Canada to ASEAN amounted to USD 900 million in 2012, an increase of 20.3% compared to 2011.

Photo: ASEAN Secretariat