1. The Fifth ASEAN-Canada Dialogue was held in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam, on 12-14 May 2008. The Meeting was attended by representatives of ASEAN Member States, Canada and the ASEAN Secretariat.
  2. The Meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Mr. Pham Quang Vinh, Director-General, Viet Nam ASEAN SOM Leader, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, and H.E. Mr. Randolph Mank, Director-General, Asia South and Pacific Bureau, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Canada.
  3. In his opening remarks, Mr. Pham Quang Vinh highlighted the progress of the ASEAN-Canada Dialogue Relations made since the last Dialogue in Ottawa in May 2007, in particular the adoption of the Second ASEAN-Canada Joint Cooperation Work Plan 2007-2010. He stressed the importance the ASEAN Member Countries attached to the dialogue relations with Canada and expressed ASEAN’s appreciation for Canada’s continued interest and efforts in further promoting cooperation with ASEAN on issues of common interest such as trade, investment, counter terrorism, environment… He expressed the hope that building on the experience and positive achievements thus far, and with the strong determination and commitment of both sides, ASEAN and Canada would steadily develop the ASEAN-Canada Dialogue Relations into a closer, comprehensive and mutually beneficial partnership.
  4. In his response, Mr. Randolph Mank thanked Vietnam for its warm hospitality and excellent arrangements for this meeting, and reiterated Canada’s commitment to furthering a mutually beneficial, multifaceted relationship with ASEAN. He highlighted the record high trade between Canada and ASEAN in 2007, which hit over $13 billion, and the extent of people-to-people ties between Canada and ASEAN. He commended ASEAN countries on the signing of the ASEAN Charter, which is indicative of the growing strength of ASEAN as an organisation. He also expressed Canada’s support for the establishment of an ASEAN human rights body as provided for in the ASEAN Charter, through concrete projects.
  5. The Meeting extended their sympathies and condolences to Myanmar for the destruction and loss of human lives in the aftermath of tropical cyclone Nargis. The Meeting noted the significant humanitarian assistance contributed and offered by the ASEAN Member Countries and the international community to Myanmar in its relief efforts. In particular, Canada informed the Meeting that it was committed to assisting those whose lives are affected by the natural disaster, and that it had set aside up to C$2 million to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of affected communities. Canada has also made available its Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to assist. ASEAN and Canada agreed to explore concrete ways to collaborate on the relief efforts in Myanmar, and welcomed Myanmar’s indication of openness to additional international assistance.
  6. ASEAN briefed Canada on the progress in building the ASEAN Community, ratification of the ASEAN Charter, finalising the Blueprints for the ASEAN Political and Security Community (APSC) and ASEAN Social-Cultural Community (ASCC), preparations for the establishment of an ASEAN human rights body, as well as ASEAN’s external relations and establishment of ASEAN+1 FTAs with other Dialogue Partners.
  7. Canada expressed its support for ASEAN’s goals of strengthening regional integration and building an ASEAN Community by 2015, as well as narrowing the development gap, through programmes and initiatives such as the Vientiane Action Programme, the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) and ASEAN Community Blueprints.
  8. Canada briefed ASEAN on the Canadian Government’s domestic and foreign policy. In particular, Canada indicated that its main foreign policy priorities included playing a leadership role in peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan, strengthening relations with the Americas and expanding its commercial presence in emerging markets. Canada also briefed ASEAN on domestic priorities concerning, among others, the Artic, climate change, and immigration.
  9. In reviewing the implementation of the Second ASEAN-Canada Joint Cooperation Work Plan (2007-2010), the Meeting noted that despite a short time span since its adoption in Manila on 1 August 2007, several activities and workshops under the umbrella of the Second Work Plan had been carried out while other proposals were being finalised for implementation in the priority areas of counter-terrorism, transnational crime, interfaith dialogue, technical assistance, and capacity-building for the ASEAN Secretariat. ASEAN expressed its appreciation to Canada for the support and speedy approval of the ASEAN-Canada Cooperation on Technical Initiatives for the VAP (ACTIV), whose early operation would contribute to assist ASEAN in community building.
  10. Both ASEAN and Canada reiterated their commitment to work closely together to carry out the Work Plan in the remaining areas such as environment and sustainable development, and science and technology. ASEAN requested consideration of a dedicated funding mechanism to support the implementation of the Work Plan, and Canada explained the difficulties with this in the Canadian funding system.
  11. Canada briefed ASEAN on the Canadian International Development Agency’s Southeast Asia Regional Program and noted that the Regional Program focuses on strengthening regional institutions, networks and organisations working on transboundary issues.
  12. The Meeting had an in-depth exchange of views and discussion on various international and regional political, security and economic issues of common interest, ranging from energy, food, and health security, environment, climate change and sustainable development, and natural disaster management, to the situation in the Middle East, and Afghanistan.
  13. The Meeting noted the need to continue to enhance cooperation to fight transnational crime, including trafficking in persons and drugs, and money laundering. ASEAN and Canada reiterated their commitment to counter terrorism through the ASEAN-Canada Joint Declaration for Cooperation to Combat International Terrorism and welcomed the significant initiatives undertaken by ASEAN and Canada in this area.
  14. Canada and ASEAN exchanged information on the performance and outlook of their respective economies. They also exchanged views on measures to promote economic cooperation and closer commercial relations. The Meeting noted Laos’ request for support for its early accession to the World Trade Organisation. ASEAN pointed out the potential of the South East Asian market for Canada’s trade and investment and expressed the hope that Canada would accord priorities to developing closer trade relations with ASEAN. In response, Canada indicated that it would be pleased to host the third ASEAN-Canada Senior Economic Officials Meeting in November 2008, which ASEAN welcomed. ASEAN and Canada will consult the senior economic officials on the timing. Canada also briefed the Meeting on the G-8 Summit priorities.
  15. On the future direction of ASEAN-Canada Dialogue Relations, the Meeting agreed to further advance the ASEAN-Canada partnership through the implementation of the Second ASEAN-Canada Joint Cooperation Work Plan (2007-2010). ASEAN and Canada would avail themselves of existing mechanisms and avenues, including the ASEAN-Canada Dialogue and ASEAN-Canada SEOM, to strengthen the long-standing partnership. ASEAN and Canada also shared the desire to develop a Joint Declaration on ASEAN-Canada Enhanced Partnership and a comprehensive Plan of Action for submission to and possible adoption by the Foreign Ministers at the ASEAN-Canada PMC Session in 2009.
  16. Canada presented a draft concept paper for an ASEAN-Canada Dialogue on Interfaith Initiatives for official consultation.
  17. In response to ASEAN’s invitation to Canada to accede to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in South East Asia (TAC), Canada informed the Meeting that this matter was being considered.
  18. It was agreed that the next ASEAN-Canada Dialogue would be held in Canada in May 2009.
  19. The Meeting expressed its appreciation to the Government of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam for the warm hospitality and excellent arrangements extended throughout the Meeting. The Meeting was conducted in a spirit of cooperation and cordiality under the co-chairmanship of Viet Nam and Canada.