A Canada-ASEAN free trade agreement benefits all

  • Page Views 2536
  • Canada is a trading nation to its core and our agreements with the United States, Mexico and the European Union are testimony to our desire — indeed, our need — to reach far beyond our borders to seek trading partnerships.

    Many Canadians are familiar with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Canada’s Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union, but flying below the national radar is the huge potential of a free trade agreement with the ten-member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

    On an official visit to the Philippines last month, I led Canada’s delegation to the 38th General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA).  Delegates discussed a wide range of issues over the course of the assembly — including disaster management, combating terrorism and human trafficking, just to name a few.  When holding a meeting with these ten ASEAN nations, the conversation turned to asking the question, ‘How can free trade between Canada and this fast-growing region be strengthened?’

    The ASEAN region — Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam — boasts a population of more than 600 million people and a nominal GDP of 2.31 trillion.  This region is fast becoming a hotspot for global growth and investment, as many countries continue to shift their gaze east.

    Canada already has a significant trading position among these nations and ASEAN members are collectively our sixth largest trading partner, to the tune of $21.6 billion as of last year.

    The economies of ASEAN stand out as being increasingly important to Canada, across a range of sectors, including oil and gas, telecommunications, financial services and consumer goods.

    So the potential for a free trade deal with ASEAN nations — and the opportunity it would offer Canada to build on that already solid relationship — needs to be our next free trade frontier.

    And while the notion of a free trade agreement between Canada and ASEAN is not a new one — the idea has been tentatively discussed before — its attractiveness continues to grow. Beyond this being in our interest, over the course of the assembly it became quite apparent during our meeting that the desire for a free trade agreement is mutual.

    Beyond our dynamic trade relationship, Canada’s unique history and development has given our country many tools that are useful to the region. Regional integration, interfaith dialogue, transnational policing and counterterrorism, as well as disaster risk reduction, are among the insights we are able to share.

    Moreover, Canada takes great pride in its diversity and multicultural fabric, as well as in the benefits it derives from welcoming communities from around the world.  This has helped Canada develop remarkable people-to-people ties with Southeast Asia.  Since the 1970s, more than one million people from Southeast Asia have made their home in Canada

    As this year marks the 40th anniversary of Canada becoming a dialogue partner of ASEAN, I can only look forward to the fifth decade of partnership between Canada and ASEAN with enthusiasm.

    The tightening of economic, social, and political relations with the ASEAN region truly holds great promise for a brighter future for Canada.

    By Senator Tobias Enverga

    ******

    Tobias C. Enverga is a senator representing Ontario. He is a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, the Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, as well as the Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans.

    Share

    New Posts Recently publish post More

    • 22 September 2022
      3 days ago No comment

      Vhong Navarro under NBI custody for rape charge

      Metro Manila — TV host and actor Vhong Navarro remains under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) as of Tuesday, a day after he was slapped with two arrest warrants over complaints filed by model-stylist Deniece Cornejo in 2014. Navarro’s camp has yet to file a motion ...

    • 22 September 2022
      3 days ago No comment

      Meet and greet with Jinny, Ramon and Surrey Forward

      The Surrey Forward party is ready to serve the city and its residents. Surrey Forward is fielding Jinny Sims as mayoral candidate in the October 15, 2022 local election, and the party also has seven candidates for council. One of these candidates is Filipino Canadian financial professional Ramon Bandong. ...

    • Queen-Elizabeth-King-Charles-2022
      15 September 2022
      1 week ago No comment

      Farewell Queen Elizabeth, Long live King Charles!

      The world is mourning the death of Queen Elizabeth II, U.K.’s longest-serving monarch, who died on September 8 at the age of 96. Queen Elizabeth, whose reign spanned 70 years, was succeeded to the throne by her eldest son Charles, who has been proclaimed as King Charles III. The ...

    • 08 September 2022
      2 weeks ago No comment

      Filipino concert scene returns to Vancouver

      After a long hiatus because of COVID-19, the Filipino concert scene is revving up in Vancouver. A series of shows has been lined up starting in the month of September 2022, and ReyFort Media Group is calling on the community to support these events. The ReyFort Media Group wants ...

    • 01 September 2022
      3 weeks ago No comment

      Boni Barcia’s summer soiriee with B.C. NDP and Filipino community

      Boni Barcia hosted a summer party at his Coquitlam residence, which saw leading figures with the ruling B.C. NDP government rubbing elbows with members of the Filipino community. Among those in attendance at the August 28, 2022 bash was David Eby, presumed frontrunner in the race to become the ...

    %d bloggers like this: