JAKARTA, 25 February 2020 – ASEAN and Canada reiterated commitment to deepen their enhanced partnership at the 8th Meeting of the ASEAN-Canada Joint Cooperation Committee held at the ASEAN Secretariat today.

At the meeting, officials from both sides noted that the longstanding partnership has expanded to cover a wide spectrum of areas under the three ASEAN Community pillars. They noted that the ASEAN-Canada Plan of Action (2016-2020) has been fully implemented in its final year.

Both sides looked forward to the finalisation of the new Plan of Action (2021-2025) that will continue to support ASEAN’s Community building efforts toward a more integrated, secure and prosperous region.

Officials from both sides agreed to put emphasis on key priority areas such as cybersecurity and transnational crimes; connectivity through innovative financing for infrastructure development; trade and investment including the possibility of an ASEAN-Canada Free Trade Agreement; gender mainstreaming; and women empowerment. Issues such as the Women, Peace and Security agenda; migrant workers; MSMEs; mitigation of biological threats including efforts to tackle the emerging threats such as COVID-19 outbreak, were also placed as priority issues.

ASEAN officials appreciated Canada’s development support through the Canada-ASEAN Scholarships and Educational Exchanges for Development (SEED) initiative. The initiative was acknowledged to have contributed to the human capital development as well as people-to-people linkages in the region.

ASEAN also encouraged Canada to establish an ASEAN-Canada dedicated fund to support collaborative programmes, and to undertake more initiatives that are regional in nature.

The meeting was co-chaired by the Director-General of ASEAN-Myanmar Hau Khan Sum and Canada’s Ambassador to ASEAN Diedrah Kelly.

Demonstrating Canada’s commitment to ASEAN, the Deputy Minister and Coordinator for International Economic Relations Jonathan Fried and Canada’s bilateral Ambassadors in ASEAN Member States were present at the meeting.

The Permanent Representatives of ASEAN Member States, or their representatives, as well as representatives of the ASEAN Secretariat also attended the meeting.