Home » ASEAN, and Canada amplify efforts for mutual benefit
Canada Economy Environment News Politics

ASEAN, and Canada amplify efforts for mutual benefit

At the 20th ASEAN-Canada Dialogue held earlier today in Kuala Lumpur, ASEAN and Canada reaffirmed their commitment to amplify efforts to substantiate their longstanding relations with a view to taking the partnership to a new height.

Given the prominence of the partnership, Canada conveyed its unwavering support for ASEAN Community-building efforts, assistance towards the region’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and commitment to ASEAN Centrality through its active participation in ASEAN-led mechanisms. In reviewing the progress of the partnership, the Meeting welcomed positive advancement made in the implementation of the ASEAN-Canada Plan of Action (2021-2025) and acknowledged the strengthening of cooperation between both sides across the three ASEAN Community pillars.

Both sides shared the significance of intensifying economic cooperation in key areas of trade and investment. Recognising the economic potential, they looked forward to the constructive progress of the ongoing ASEAN-Canada Free Trade (FTA) negotiations. Looking ahead, the Meeting looked forward to the 4th ASEAN-Canada FTA Trade Negotiating Committee (TNC) Meeting, scheduled for June 2023.

Under the ambit of future cooperation, ASEAN and Canada highlighted the importance of enhancing partnership in the four key areas outlined in the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) through concrete projects to support its implementation, in complementarity with Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS), launched in November 2022. With a view to ensure coordination of a whole-of-government approach and advance the strategic implementation of Canada’s IPS, the Meeting noted the appointment of Ian McKay, Canada’s Ambassador to Japan, as Canada’s Special Envoy to the Indo-Pacific.

Both sides also emphasised the need to work closely to further enhance cooperation to combat transnational crime and counter terrorism as well as promote maritime cooperation. The Meeting also encouraged greater collaboration on cybersecurity, connectivity and infrastructure, transport, trade and investment, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), including women entrepreneurship, digital economy and financial infrastructure.

In addition, the Meeting discussed and called for cooperation to narrowing development gap in ASEAN and promote collaboration on energy and minerals,  food security,  science, technology and innovation, disaster management, public health security, youth and women empowerment, Women Peace and Security Agenda,  protection of the rights of migrant workers,  education,  people-to-people exchanges, tourism and sports,  smart cities,  environment and climate change, including clean water and social services, biodiversity,  and sustainable development.

To support its collaborative programmes with ASEAN, Canada highlighted the establishment of the ASEAN-Canada Plan of Action Trust Fund this year.  Correspondingly, the Meeting shared the significance of developing practical programmes and activities that are tangible, sustainable, mutually beneficial, regional in nature and adaptive to current challenges and needs of ASEAN. Both sides also exchanged views on regional and international issues of common concern.

Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia and SOM Leader of Malaysia, Dato’ Sri Amran Mohamed Zin and Assistant Deputy Minister for Asia Pacific of Global Affairs Canada, Weldon Epp, co-chaired the Meeting. In attendance were ASEAN Senior Officials or their representatives as well as representatives of the ASEAN Secretariat, and Timor-Leste as an Observer.

The ASEAN-Canada Dialogue continues to be an essential mechanism in discussing strategic issues of common interests and concerns between ASEAN and Canada.

Source: asean