JAKARTA, 13 July 2021 – ASEAN and Canada reaffirmed commitment to further advance their enhanced partnership for mutual benefit at the 18th ASEAN-Canada Dialogue held today via videoconference.
Senior officials from ASEAN and Canada noted the growing cooperation between the two sides across the three pillars of the ASEAN Community, as well as the significant progress in the implementation of the Plan of Action (2021-2025) following its adoption last year.
Both sides underscored the importance of collaborative efforts undertaken in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, and therefore, welcomed the announcement of Canada’s contribution of CA$ 3.5 million over five years to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund in May 2021 to strengthen these efforts, among other initiatives.
The meeting also agreed to deepen collaboration in areas of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) development; Women, Peace and Security Agenda and women’s economic empowerment; transnational crimes and cyber security; public health; digital economy; environment; connectivity and innovation, including infrastructure and smart cities; as well as human capital development through education and people-to-people exchanges.
Both sides looked forward to further deliberate ways to deepen the partnership as ASEAN and Canada celebrates the 45th anniversary of the dialogue relations next year, including through a possible ASEAN-Canada FTA to boost economic recovery and growth for the benefit of its people.
Further, the meeting discussed key regional issues of common concerns, including the developments in the South China Sea and the Korean Peninsula, as well as situation in Myanmar. Senior officials from both sides reiterated the significance of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific in guiding the partnership forward and agreed to explore cooperation in the key areas identified therein.
Permanent Representative of Myanmar to ASEAN Aung Myo Myint and Assistant Deputy Minister for Asia Pacific of Canadian Global Affairs Paul Thoppil co-chaired the dialogue. It was participated by senior officials of ASEAN or their representatives, as well as the Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Political Security Community. The ASEAN-Canada Dialogue remains as a key mechanism in discussing strategic issues of common concerns between ASEAN and Canada.