VANCOUVER, 2 June 2017 – Secretary-General of ASEAN Le Luong Minh encouraged ASEAN and Canada to redouble efforts to realise the full potential of their long standing partnership.  Visiting Canada at the invitation of the Canadian Foreign Ministry in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of ASEAN-Canada Dialogue Relations, Secretary-General Minh said although both sides have been working on a number of areas of cooperation, there remains tremendous opportunity to be tapped for mutual benefit.

He added that ASEAN and Canada should vigorously explore collaboration across the three pillars of ASEAN Community. Areas such as combatting the rise of violent extremism and radicalization, promotion of peace and security, trade and investment, micro small and medium enterprises, science, technology and innovation, disaster risk management, education, environment, migrant workers, among others, offer good platform for cooperation. At present ASEAN and Canada are jointly conducting a feasibility study on an ASEAN-Canada free trade agreement.

While in Ottawa, Secretary-General Minh met with leaders of the Foreign Affairs, International Trade, and National Defense Ministries. Together with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, Chrystia Freeland, he opened the Global Affairs Canada’s Conference on ASEAN.  At the conference, he highlighted key achievements and challenges in the ASEAN Community building and shared his thoughts on the future direction of ASEAN-Canada relations.

On the part of Canada, Minister Freeland and other senior officials conveyed their strong determination to forge a robust partnership with ASEAN. ASEAN would find “a very strong and committed partner in Canada,” said Minister Freeland.

Secretary-General Minh also visited the British Columbia province, where he met with the province’s educational and economic leaders to explore opportunities for enhancing education, trade and investment cooperation.