Minister Ng reinforces Canada-ASEAN relations at successful meeting in Cambodia with ASEAN economic ministers
September 17, 2022 – Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia - Global Affairs Canada
The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, today concluded a productive trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia, where she met with economic ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
At the 11th ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) – Canada Consultation, Minister Ng highlighted the 45th anniversary of Canada-ASEAN relations, and this partnership’s growing engagement across a range of diplomatic, trade, investment, security and development issues. She reaffirmed Canada’s support for ASEAN centrality and the shared interest in a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region, highlighting opportunities for cooperation under the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.
Minister Ng demonstrated this commitment to cooperation and common prosperity when she announced at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting last month the creation of a new Canada-ASEAN trust fund to promote further collaboration and Canada’s strategic objectives in the region, with an initial contribution of $1 million. This builds on the $3.7 billion in development assistance that Canada has already provided to ASEAN and its member states since 2000.
Minister Ng welcomed the recently-completed first round of negotiations toward a Canada-ASEAN free trade agreement, which will represent a key element of Canada’s renewed trade and economic engagement in the Indo-Pacific region. She underscored that Canada and ASEAN share important interests, including regional stability, rules-based trade, and inclusive economic growth. The minister reiterated that Canada, as a Pacific-facing nation, has been deeply engaged in the region and it would be beneficial to all parties for the relationship to be elevated to the Strategic Partner level this year.
At a reception hosted by the Canada-ASEAN Business Council, Minister Ng highlighted how Canada is closely working with Cambodia to support women entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises, contributing to the economic resilience of the region. Minister Ng also met with Cambodia’s Minister of Women’s Affairs, Dr. Ing Kantha Phavi, and announced that Canada will be the main external partner in the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Conference to be held in Cambodia next month.
Throughout her engagements with ASEAN ministers, Minister Ng strongly condemned Russia’s unprovoked and unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine, which is a direct and flagrant violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of national sovereignty and territorial integrity. She emphasized that Russia’s aggression goes against the core principles outlined in the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, with consequences that are being felt not only in Europe, but throughout the world, including in the Indo-Pacific region. The Minister also expressed Canada’s grave concern over the ongoing crisis in Myanmar, and reiterated Canada’s condemnation of the coup d’état and the escalating violence. She stressed Canada’s readiness to work with ASEAN in finding a peaceful solution, including through implementation of the ASEAN Five-Point Consensus and the work of the ASEAN Chair’s Special Envoy.
Minister Ng thanked Cambodia for hosting the 2022 ASEAN ministerial meetings, which coincide with the 45th year of Canada-ASEAN relations. She also thanked Indonesia as Canada’s country coordinator for ASEAN economic affairs.
“The Indo-Pacific region is key for Canada’s economic growth, prosperity and security. Deepening our trade ties with ASEAN will benefit Canadian businesses and workers, create good middle class jobs across the country, and generate strong, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth. That is why I am back in Cambodia to strengthen Canada-ASEAN relations and support a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific, with ASEAN at its core.”
- Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development
Established in 1967, ASEAN comprises 10 Southeast Asian States: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Canada became an ASEAN Dialogue Partner in 1977: 1 of only 11 countries with this designation. Dialogue Partners cooperate on political and security issues, regional integration, economic interests, combatting transnational crime and counterterrorism, reducing risks of disasters, and in other areas.
Together, 10 ASEAN member states represent the fifth largest economy in the world with a combined GDP of US$3.4 trillion.
Together, ASEAN member states have the third-largest population in the world at 661 million-and growing.
In 2021, ASEAN was Canada’s fourth-largest trading partner, with Canada-ASEAN merchandise trade valued at US$25 billion.
Nearly 38,000 students from the ASEAN region currently study in Canada.
Canada supports ASEAN capacity-building in trade policy and economic development through the Expert Deployment Mechanism for Trade and Development and the Canadian Trade and Investment Facility for Development.
In August 2022, Minister Ng announced the creation of an ASEAN-Canada Plan of Action Trust Fund.
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