1. Senior Officials from Canada and ASEAN met in Bangkok on November 25-27 for the Fourth Meeting of the ASEAN- Canada Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC). The Meeting was also attended by representatives of the ASEAN Secretariat.
2. Dr. Chirayu Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, Minister Attached to the Prime Ministers Office in Thailand, opened the Meeting. He welcomed delegates from ASEAN countries and Canada which in the short span of less than ten years from the inception of formal ASEAN-Canada relations has become a valued partner of ASEAN. The Minister observed that there was a congruence of interests between ASEAN and Canada on many international issues, and expressed appreciation for Canadian support for ASEAN on regional political security, and humanitarian issues. He also emphasized the need to work closely in fighting the growing impulses toward trade protectionism, while expressing appreciation for Canada’s positive roles in the coalition of 14 non-subsidizing agricultural exporting countries and the close. cooperation between Canada and ASEAN in successfully launching the Uruguay Round. He called for further expansion and consolidation of ASEAN – Canada cooperation in such areas as trade, invest- ment, and tourism, and for the involvement of all parties concerned, especially the respective private sectors, in the Dialogue process.
3. The JCC was established under the Economic Cooperation Agreement which came into force on June 1, 1982. Its task is to promote and review the various forms of cooperation envisaged under the Agreement – industrial cooperation, commercial cooperation, and development cooperation. The Committee also reviews recent trends in the inter- national economic situation. The last JCC meeting was held in Ottawa on October 30 – 31, 1985.
4. A wide range of international issues affecting ASEAN – Canada trade relations we-re discussed at this JCC Meeting. Both Canada and ASEAN agreed on the urgent need to strengthen the open multi- lateral trading system and to resist protectionism. The two sides reiterated their determination to continue consultations and coordination so as to achieve an early and substantial result in the New Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations.
5. Recalling the commitment spelled out in the Economic Cooperation Agreement to expand trade and economic links, the two sides were determined to increase the volume of trade and investment: Considerable emphasis was given on both sides to the increasingly important role of the private sector. The creation of the ASEAN – Canada Business Council (ACBC) in early December 1986 is expected to give greater impetus to trade, invest- ment and commercial ties. Indicative of the increased emphasis on -private sector activity was the convening of the Canada – ASEAN Forum in Canada in September 1986. Senior businessmen from ASEAN countries and Canada spent several days discussing business opportunities, as a result of which several joint venture opportunities are currently being pursued.
6. As in previous JCC Meetings, there were extensive discussions on development issues. Both sides agreed that projects should be undertaken in a dynamic manner, making a tangible impact on the economic objectives envisaged in the Joint Cooperation Agreement between ASEAN countries and Canada. At this 4th JCC Meeting, a status report showed that there has been considerable progress made in on-going projects. Following a commitment made by the Secretary of State for External Affairs at the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference last June, Canada proposes: to provide C$ 750,000 for the creation of a regional Human Resources Development Fund- to increase the Regional Mission Administered Fund which provides financial support for non-governmental organizations (NGOS) projects in the ASEAN region, to C$ 250,000 for 1986; and to establish an ASEAN Scholarship Fund of C$ 600,000 to allow ASEAN students to study in Canada. In addition. specifically targeted funding to promote trade and investment will be made. available for ASEAN countries to be administered-red through the Canadian Trade Facilitation Office; C$ 100,000 will be provided to the soon-to-be established Canada – ASEAN -Business, Council to help- promote. Canadian trade and investment between Canada and the ASEAN countries.
7. The ASEAN side welcomed Canadas willingness to strengthen ASEAN – Canada economic cooperations by considering the establishment of a mechanism for transfer of technology. Both sides agreed to have further consultations on this issue.
8. The Meeting and its outcome reflected the understanding and spirit of partnership which have characterized ASEAN – Canada relations.