Home » Breaking News, Customs & Trade » ASEAN, Canada adopt joint declaration to boost bilateral trade

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Canada have signed a joint declaration to enhance bilateral trade and investment.

The joint declaration, endorsed by the ASEAN economic ministers at their 43rd meeting in August 2011 in Manado, Indonesia, and signed on October 2 in Jakarta, adopted the following goals:

* Enhance trade, industrial cooperation, and investment

* Facilitate increased involvement of the business sector, in particular small and medium-scale enterprises

* Encourage greater coordination between the World Trade Organization and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forums

* Develop a mechanism for regular exchanges of information on trade and investment opportunities and other related promotional activities.

Following the joint declaration, also a key outcome stated in the ASEAN-Canada Plan of Action, the two parties will next develop a work plan that puts emphasis on the development of SMEs and an effective partnership with the private sector.

Canada is ASEAN’s 13th largest trading partner and ninth largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI). Trade between ASEAN and Canada recorded an annual average growth of 21 percent between 2005 and 2008, then dipped to 15.8 percent in 2009 due to the global financial crisis and economic downturn. But trade flows showed signs of recovery in 2010 with total trade amounting to US$9.8 billion, an increase of 8.6 percent over the previous year, ASEAN said.

ASEAN is Canada’s seventh most important trading partner. FDI flow from Canada to ASEAN increased more than twofold in 2010, amounting to $1.6 billion. In the same year, Canada’s investment in the ASEAN region was more than its investment in China and India combined.

The joint declaration is timely as ASEAN moves to deepen its economic integration and enhance its linkages with  trading partners. “The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is based on open regionalism, and deepening trade and economic ties with our partners is an integral part of ASEAN’s economic community building,” said Pushpanathan Sundram, Deputy Secretary General of ASEAN for AEC. “The AEC will provide trade, economic and business opportunities for ASEAN, Canada and other trading partners to tap on.”

Canada is one of ASEAN’s oldest dialogue partners and will celebrate its 35th anniversary of partnership with the ASEAN in 2012.


Photo from ASEAN

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