1. The ASEAN-Canada Dialogue was held on March 30-31, 2004 in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam. The Meeting was attended by delegations from the governments of all ten ASEAN member countries and Canada, and the Secretary General of ASEAN, His Excellency Ong Keng Yong.
2. The Meeting was co-chaired by His Excellency Pehin Dato Lim Jock Seng, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brunei Darussalam, and His Excellency David Mulroney, Assistant Deputy Minister (Asia-Pacific), Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Canada.
3. In his welcoming remarks, H.E. Pehin Dato Lim Jock Seng expressed Brunei Darussalam’s pleasure, as Country Coordinator, in hosting the Meeting. His Excellency stated that the convening of the Dialogue marked an important development in revitalising the ASEAN-Canada Relations. He underscored the need for closer cooperation on matters of mutual concern and the importance of a strong partnership and friendship through closer contact and deeper understanding.
4. In his opening remarks, H.E. Mr David Mulroney, Assistant Deputy Minister (Asia Pacific), stressed Canada’s genuine desire to launch an enhanced relationship reflecting common interests and the tremendous economic, political and social progress that is ongoing in the region. Canada would like to update and broaden the scope of its relationship with ASEAN to include new dimensions, especially in the area of economics and trade. This is especially desirable given growing ASEAN-Canada trade, and growing Canadian investment in the region. His Excellency explained that Canada hopes to exchange with ASEAN in such fields as ICT, education, E-government and related areas. He also underlined the common interest and desire by ASEAN and Canada to contribute to global peace and security.
5. Canada welcomed the outcomes of the 9th ASEAN Summit, ASEAN Plus Three Summit and the ASEAN Plus One Summits with China, India, Japan and the ROK held in Bali, in October 2003. It particularly welcomed the establishment of the ASEAN Community with the objective of an integrated ASEAN in the political and security, economic and socio-cultural field. Canada also welcomed ASEAN’s efforts to strengthen its relations with its Dialogue Partners such as through the accession of China and India to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), as well as the establishment of the ASEAN-India Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and the Framework on ASEAN Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership. Canada expressed its commitment to work closely with ASEAN in support of its various initiatives particularly in implementing the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) and the realization of the ASEAN Community.
6. The Meeting was briefed on the key domestic developments in Canada in the past year, including the new federal government policy changes under Prime Minister Paul Martin.
7. The Meeting had an extensive exchange of views on the future direction of ASEAN-Canada relations. ASEAN acknowledged that since the establishment of the dialogue relations, cooperation between both sides has developed very significantly contributing to the region’s growth. ASEAN welcomed Canada’s keen interest to have an enhanced dialogue with ASEAN. ASEAN affirmed its desire for a mutually rewarding ASEAN-Canada dialogue relationship. The Meeting agreed that there is considerable scope for cooperation and therefore it is timely for the dialogue relations to move forward and explore ways to revitalize it.
8. ASEAN discussed future areas of cooperation including Canada’s proposal for cooperation activities with ASEAN such as the idea of developing a trilateral development cooperation mechanism. The Meeting was of the view that the proposed trilateral cooperation would contribute to ASEAN’s integration efforts including implementing the Work Plan on the Initiative of ASEAN Integration (IAI) and in the promotion of sub-regional growth areas. In this regard, ASEAN welcomed Canada’s proposal to organise a Symposium to further develop the idea. Both sides agreed that cooperation should move forward in the spirit of dialogue, inclusiveness and respect.
9. The Meeting exchanged views on other possible future areas of cooperation, such as in information communications technology (ICT), e-government, human resources development (HRD), animal health, food safety standards, as well as addressing emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.
10. Canada welcomed ASEAN’s resolve and determination to combat international terrorism and noted the ongoing efforts to address the menace with its Dialogue Partners. In this regard, Canada welcomed the recent convening of the 1st AMMTC+3 (China, Japan and the Republic of Korea) in Bangkok, January 2004 and the Regional Ministerial Meeting on Counter-Terrorism convened by Indonesia and Australia in Bali, 4-5 February 2004. The Meeting looked forward to the recommendations of the ARF ISM on Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime held in Manila on 30-31 March 2004. Canada expressed its readiness to work with ASEAN in implementing the Work Programme to Implement the ASEAN Plan of Cooperation to combat Transnational Crime.
11. The Meeting expressed satisfaction on the progress of the ASEAN Regional Forum and reaffirmed its importance as the key regional security forum in the Asia Pacific. ASEAN welcomed Canada’s active participation in the ARF in further strengthening the process.
12. The Meeting emphasized the importance of a peaceful and stable Korean Peninsula to regional peace and stability. In this regard, the Meeting expressed its hope that the next round of six-party talks will be held at an early date and lead to a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, contributing to peace and stability in the region.
13. On the post-war situation in Iraq, views were expressed in support of the central role of the United Nations in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Iraq in accordance with the aspiration of the Iraqi people. The Meeting welcomed the UN Secretary-General’s recent decision to dispatch a UN team to Iraq to support this transition in line with the UN’s responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
14. The Meeting exchanged views on transnational issues, including transnational crimes such as human trafficking, money laundering and illicit trafficking of drugs, as well as transnational health threats such as HIV/AIDS, SARS and Avian Influenza.
15. The Meeting agreed to work together to address the problem of illicit drugs from both the supply and demand sides, taking into account ASEAN’s goal to make the region free from drugs by 2015.
16. The Meeting underscored the importance of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the 2nd ASEAN Work Programme (AWPII) on HIV/AIDS II for 2002-2005 in mitigating the impact caused by HIV/AIDS at the global and regional level. The Meeting looked forward to a successful outcome of the World HIV/AIDS Conference to be held in Thailand in July 2004. The Meeting agreed to promote closer cooperation between both sides in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
17. Canada commended regional efforts in addressing the Avian Influenza outbreak such as the Ministerial Meeting on the Current Poultry Disease Situation in Bangkok on 28 January 2004 and the ASEAN-China Special Meeting on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) Control in Beijing on 3 March 2004. ASEAN also expressed appreciation to Canada for its financial support to the World Health Organization’s regional programs to combat SARS. The Meeting underlined the need to strengthen cooperation among the health and other relevant agencies to promote and facilitate the exchange and sharing of information, as well as strengthen the early warning system to deal with and prevent the spread of SARS and other communicable diseases.
18. The Meeting stressed the need for closer economic cooperation between ASEAN and Canada, which would contribute positively to the economic growth of both sides. The Meeting therefore welcomed Canada’s proposal for enhancing economic cooperation between ASEAN and Canada. In this regard, the Meeting welcomed the convening of the workshop on “Regionalisation in the 21st Century: A Canada-ASEAN Dialogue As Part of Opening Up of New Cross-Pacific Exchanges” held at the ASEAN Secretariat on 9 March 2004.
19. Canada welcomed the positive developments made by ASEAN in moving towards greater economic integration, both internally through AFTA and externally via comprehensive economic cooperation and partnership with its dialogue partners. Canada commended ASEAN’s decisions to establish an ASEAN Economic Community, which aims to integrate the economies of ASEAN Member Countries into a single market and production base.
20. The Meeting noted that trade and investment between ASEAN and Canada had steadily increased over recent years and agreed that there is great potential to further expand and deepen their scope in the near future. The Meeting agreed to increase greater interaction between senior economic officials from ASEAN and Canada. The Meeting was also of the view that the sectoral experts from both regions could also increase their collaboration such as in the areas of customs, animal husbandry and sanitary and phytosanitary.
21. ASEAN also welcomed the proposal by Canada to organise a Canada-ASEAN Trade and Investment Summit to be held in Toronto in April next year and to undertake a Joint Analytical Study on Canada-ASEAN trade and investment relationship. In this regard, ASEAN looked forward to receiving further information on their proposals.
22. The meeting encouraged the participation of the Canadian Private Sector at the ASEAN Business Investment Summit in Vientiane, November 2004 as a means to promote business-to-business contacts between ASEAN and Canada.
23. The Meeting also exchanged views on WTO issues, and noted the importance of the Doha Round and of concluding the negotiations by the agreed deadline. The Meeting noted the results of the WTO Ministerial Conference in Cancun and concurred that to move the process forward, all Member Countries need to exercise flexibility and political will so as to re-energize the stalled multilateral negotiations towards the successful conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda. The Meeting also expressed continuing support for the early accessions of Lao PDR and Vietnam to the WTO.
24. The Meeting welcomed the success of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting (AELM) in Bangkok in October 2003 and expressed the confidence that the decisions of the meeting would further enhance regional economic dynamism and stability. ASEAN and Canada looked forward to working together at the next AELM in Chile in November 2004.
25. The next ASEAN-Canada Dialogue will be held in Toronto, in April 2005.
26. The Meeting expressed its appreciation to the Government of Brunei Darussalam for its warm hospitality and for the excellent arrangements extended during the Meeting. The Meeting was conducted in a spirit of cooperation and cordiality under the chairmanship of Brunei Darussalam and Canada.