JAKARTA, 24 February 2021 – Today, ASEAN and Canada reaffirmed commitment to strengthen cooperation under their new Plan of Action 2021-2025 in areas of mutual interests at the 9th ASEAN-Canada Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) Meeting via videoconference.

Both sides highlighted the importance of continuing efforts to effectively implement the new Plan of Action (2021-2025), adopted at the ASEAN-Canada Ministerial Meeting in September last year.

In this spirit, the meeting agreed to deepen collaboration in the areas of trade and investment; Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) development; public health; innovation including entrepreneurship and start-ups; digital economy; education; gender equality; Women, Peace and Security; and connectivity.

The Meeting highlighted the importance of collaboration towards post COVID-19 recovery, and ensuring fair, equitable and global access of vaccines. ASEAN also welcomed Canada’s interest to contribute to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund, as well as cooperation through initiatives such as the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework.

Canada’s support to ASEAN Community building and integration efforts through cooperation programmes such as; the Canada-ASEAN Scholarships and Educational Exchanges for Development (SEED); the Canada-OECD Project for ASEAN SMEs (COPAS); and the “TRIANGLE in ASEAN initiative” to promote safe and fair labour migration, was highly appreciated.

Moving forward, both sides underscored the significance of enhancing economic relations and looked forward to advancing discussion on a possible ASEAN-Canada Free Trade Agreement, which is also one of the priority economic deliverables of Brunei Darussalam’s Chairmanship of ASEAN this year.

Taking note that next year marks the 45th Anniversary of the ASEAN-Canada Dialogue Partnership, Canada looked forward to engaging ASEAN on potential commemorative events.

Permanent Representatives of ASEAN Member States and their representatives, Canada’s Ambassador to ASEAN, and the Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for Political-Security Community attended the meeting.

*****