Minister Ng concludes successful meetings in Indonesia with ASEAN economic ministers

News release

August 22, 2023 – Semarang, Indonesia – Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development attended the 12th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Ministers (AEM) – Canada Consultation, in Indonesia.

Ahead of the AEM meeting, Minister Ng met with Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime and Investment Affairs, to hold the first meeting of the Canada-Indonesia Economic Task Force, which was agreed to during Minister Ng’s last visit to Indonesia. The ministers agreed to advance shared priorities such as comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) negotiations, the development of a green airport in North Kalimantan, strategic investment in infrastructure projects and cooperation on food security and agriculture.

While in Jakarta, Minister Ng also met with Yaqut Qoumas, Indonesia’s Minister of Religious Affairs, and advocated for restored access to the Indonesian market for Canadian halal products, including beef, and the recognition of Canadian halal certification bodies.

Minister Ng also met with Airlangga Hartarto, Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, and with Zulkifli Hasan, Minister of Trade to advancing negotiations towards a Canada-Indonesia CEPA.

In Semarang, Minister Ng attended the 12th AEM – Canada Consultation. She reaffirmed Canada’s support for ASEAN centrality and shared interest in a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region, highlighting opportunities for cooperation under the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. Minister Ng thanked ASEAN and its member states for their ongoing support in finalizing the ASEAN-Canada Strategic Partnership this year and advancing negotiations toward a Canada-ASEAN free trade agreement.

She also had bilateral meetings with international partners including Kao Kim Hourn, Secretary-General of ASEAN whom she  thanked the Secretary-General for his support in advancing negotiations toward a Canada-ASEAN free trade agreement.

Minister Ng thanked Indonesia for hosting the 2023 ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting.


 “As we grow trade with key markets across the Indo-Pacific, Canada will continue to work with ASEAN partners to deepen trade ties that will benefit Canadian businesses and workers, create good jobs across the country and generate strong, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth. My time in Indonesia was an excellent opportunity to strengthen Canada-ASEAN relations and reinforce Canada’s support for a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific, with ASEAN at its core.”

- Mary Ng, Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development”

Quick facts

  • Established in 1967, ASEAN comprises 10 Southeast Asian States: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. In 2022, ASEAN admitted Timor Leste in principle as the 11th member of ASEAN and granted observer status.

  • ASEAN is Canada’s fourth-largest trading partner globally and second-largest trading partner in the Indo-Pacific in terms of merchandise trade. With a combined GDP of almost $5 trillion and a population of more than 670 million in 2022, ASEAN represents the world’s fifth-largest economy and third-most populous consumer market.

  • With a population of about 275 million and a GDP of $1.7 trillion in 2022, Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s most populous country and has its largest economy, creating significant trade and investment opportunities for Canada.

  • Total bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and ASEAN reached $40.7 billion in 2022 while services trade amounted to $6.8 billion in 2021 and these numbers are expected to continue growing.

  • Canada and ASEAN launched negotiations toward a free trade agreement in 2021 and will be holding the fifth round of negotiations in September, 2023.

  • 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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Shanti Cosentino
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development,

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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