Minister of International Trade Diversification to visit Thailand and Singapore to attract new foreign direct investment and open new markets

News release

August 27, 2018 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

Opening new markets for Canadian exporters and attracting new job-creating foreign investment is a top priority for the Canadian Government. Growing economic ties with the dynamic Southeast Asia region will provide Canadian businesses more opportunities to sell their high-quality products and services abroad while opening the door to more job-creating investment for hard-working Canadians at home.

The Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification, will travel to Thailand from August 28 to 30, 2018, to promote the growing bilateral trade and investment relationship between Canada and Thailand. The Minister will then travel to Singapore to meet with government and business leaders as nations move closer to the ratification of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The Minister will conclude his visit by attending the 7th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Ministers-Canada Consultations.

In Thailand and Singapore, opportunities abound for Canadian expertise and innovation in the transportation, clean energy and financial sectors. Diversifying trade over the longer term means advancing discussions and securing a pathway towards more free trade with ASEAN nations. Singapore is the current host of the rotating Chair of ASEAN. Thailand will assume the Chair in 2019.

Canada continues to ramp up its engagement across the entire Asia-Pacific region. Increased trade and investment—facilitated by the CPTPP, signed earlier this year and by other potential trade initiatives, such as ongoing exploratory discussions for a possible Canada-ASEAN free trade agreement—present enormous opportunities for Canadians to diversify markets, thereby creating more jobs for the middle class.


“Expanding into the Southeast Asia region will help Canadian-owned businesses access one the world’s fastest-growing markets. By strengthening people-to-people ties and increasing trade and investment opportunities in this dynamic region, we are creating the right conditions for more Canadians to confidently compete and succeed, creating more jobs as a result.”

- The Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification

Quick facts

  • Bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and Thailand was $4 billion in 2017.

  • Singapore is the largest recipient of Canadian foreign direct investment among ASEAN member states, with investments valued at $5.7 billion at the end of 2017.

  • ASEAN’s member states include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

  • As a group, ASEAN ranks as Canada’s sixth-largest trading partner.

  • With an expected total GDP of nearly US$3 trillion in 2018, ASEAN is the fifth-largest economic region in the world.

  • The ASEAN nations are home to around 650 million people—more than North America or the European Union.

  • The region is rapidly developing, largely thanks to its significant and growing working-age population.

  • In 2017, bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and ASEAN nations was $23.3 billion, with bilateral service trade reaching $5.1 billion in 2017.

  • On March 8, 2018, Canada and 10 other countries—including four ASEAN member states—signed the CPTPP in Santiago, Chile.

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