OTTAWA, 27 March 2019 – ASEAN and Canada reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen partnership and expand cooperation, including redoubling efforts in several areas, at the 16th ASEAN-Canada Dialogue held in Ottawa yesterday.
Both sides, represented by senior officials, noted the significant growth in their relations over the past four decades and agreed to renew impetus to deepen their relations through high-level engagements and the continued implementation of the ASEAN-Canada Plan of Action (2016-2020). This includes working towards a potential ASEAN-Canada Free Trade Agreement.
In reviewing ASEAN-Canada cooperation, both parties reaffirmed commitment to redouble efforts in combating terrorism and violent extremism, transnational crime, and people smuggling; mitigation of biological threats; trade and investment; connectivity including through public-private partnership; development of MSMEs; climate change; disaster response and risks management; as well as people-to-people exchanges noting the importance of programmes such as the ASEAN-Canada Scholarships and Educational Exchanges for Development.
The meeting exchanged views on regional and international issues of common concern such as the South China Sea, Korean Peninsula, the global economic environment and developments in the regional architecture including the Indo-Pacific. The importance of ASEAN Centrality, rules-based international order as well as free and open multilateral trading system were emphasised as fundamental principles underpinning the relations.
Both parties welcomed the convening of the business seminar “ASEAN and Canada: Advancing the Partnership” on 25 March 2019 in Ottawa organised by the Canada-ASEAN Business Council, the ASEAN Committee in Ottawa and the Global Affairs Canada to discuss the potentials of a closer economic relations between ASEAN and Canada.
The dialogue is an annual event to review and chart the future direction of ASEAN-Canada relations. It was co-chaired by Myint Thu, Senior Official Meeting leader of Myanmar, and Dr. Donald Bobiash, Assistant Deputy Minister for Asia Pacific of Global Affairs Canada, and attended by senior representatives from ASEAN Member States, Canada and the ASEAN Secretariat. Ian Shugart, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, was also present at the dialogue.