Canada and ASEAN have a long and mutually beneficial relationship. In fact, Canada became an ASEAN dialogue partner in 1977 and is one of only 10 countries with this designation. Dialogue partners cooperate on political and security issues, regional integration, economic interests, inter-faith dialogue, transnational crime and counterterrorism, disaster risk reduction and other areas.
ASEAN is at the heart of Asia’s regional security architecture, and it represents one of the world’s fastest-growing economic regions. In 2009, Canada appointed an ambassador to ASEAN and adopted the Joint Declaration on the ASEAN-Canada Enhanced Partnership. In 2016, Canada opened its dedicated mission to ASEAN and appointed its first dedicated ambassador to ASEAN. Canada has diplomatic representation in all 10 ASEAN member states.
- Canada provides security assistance to ASEAN member states helping to achieve ambitious integration goals, which contributes to regional peace and security and promotes Canadian foreign policy objectives in Southeast Asia.
- As a group, ASEAN member state economies represent Canada’s sixth-largest merchandise trading partner. In 2017, Canada-ASEAN merchandise trade reached $23.3 billion.
- More than 23,000 students from the ASEAN region currently study in Canada.
Canada’s trade and investment in Southeast Asia is expanding quickly—not only in volume, but across many sectors, including oil and gas, mining, high tech, telecommunications, agri-food, financial services, aviation and consumer goods.
Canada-ASEAN Joint Declaration on Trade and Investment
Canada and ASEAN are party to the Canada-ASEAN Joint Declaration on Trade and Investment (JDTI)(2011), which provides a platform for Canada and ASEAN member states to exchange information on trade and investment opportunities and to strengthen commercial engagement.
In August 2015, Canada and the ASEAN member states adopted a new work plan to guide the implementation of the JDTI from 2016 to 2020. Efforts focus on a number of areas, including:
- small and medium-sized enterprises
- corporate social responsibility