MANILA, 3 May 2018 – Senior Officials from ASEAN and Canada reaffirmed their commitment to deepen partnership through closer cooperation and collaboration at the 15th ASEAN-Canada Dialogue in Manila, the Philippines today.
The Dialogue was co-chaired by Undersecretary Enrique A. Manalo, SOM Leader of the Philippines, and Dr. Donald Bobiash, Assistant Deputy Minister for Asia Pacific of Global Affairs Canada.
Both sides highlighted the importance of building on the momentum of the 40th Anniversary of their dialogue relations last year when the first-ever ASEAN-Canada Leaders’ meeting was held.
In discussing future cooperation, the Senior Officials stressed the need for both sides to step up cooperation in areas such as trade, connectivity, innovation, MSMEs, disaster risk reduction, environment and people-to-people exchanges as well as combatting transnational crime and addressing challenges brought about by climate change.
In his remarks, Undersecretary Manalo was pleased to note that ASEAN-Canada cooperation has now expanded to cover a broad spectrum of areas. He highlighted that under the Philippines’ coordinatorship of ASEAN-Canada dialogue relations, the current Plan of Action (2016-2020) to Implement the Joint Declaration on ASEAN-Canada Enhanced Partnership was adopted. In addition, the Philippines also spearheaded the celebration of the 40th Anniversary of ASEAN-Canada Dialogue Relations in 2017.
Dr. Bobiash stressed that Canada was now better placed than ever to build on the solid foundation of their dialogue relations with ASEAN. He looked forward to making progress in trade and investment through exploratory discussions on a potential free trade agreement.
The Dialogue also discussed regional and international issues of common concerns and called for free, open and rules-based international order.
The ASEAN-Canada Dialogue is an annual event to review and chart the future direction of ASEAN-Canada relations and was attended by senior representatives from ASEAN Member States, Canada and the ASEAN Secretariat.