12 November 2011
Increasing and expanding trade and investment opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region is a priority for Canada. Canada has been actively pursuing a number of important economic initiatives with its major trading partners in the region.
Since 2006, Canadian officials have made numerous visits to the Asia-Pacific region in order to promote closer economic and social ties between Canada and the region. The Prime Minister himself has visited countries in the region on more than 20 occasions. These include Russia (2006), Vietnam (2006), Chile (2007), Australia (2007 and 2011) Japan (2008 and 2010), Peru (2008), Singapore (2009), South Korea (2009 and 2010) and China (2009), as well as numerous visits to the United States and Mexico.
In addition, the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, is currently leading a delegation of distinguished Canadian academics and business people to Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore. The visit is taking place between November 12 and November 22, 2011.
As well, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway Ed Fast announced the adoption of a joint declaration of cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which calls for further cooperation among Canadian and Southeast Asian governments and businesses. Minister Fast has also undertaken trade missions to China and India, in October and November 2011, respectively.Trade and investment initiatives:
- During the state visit of President Hu of China to Canada in 2010, he and Prime Minister Stephen Harper established a Working Group to explore means of deepening the Canada-China economic partnership. This group is now studying areas where the Canadian and Chinese economies are complementary. This will provide the analytical basis for discussion of options moving forward.
- Canada has opened six trade offices in China located in Chengdu, Nanjing, Qingdao, Shenyang, Shenzhen and Wuhan. These six cities are home to almost 50 million people — over one and half times the population of Canada.
- Canada is negotiating a Foreign Investment Protection Agreement (FIPA) with China to provide security and predictability for Canadian investors.
- The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, recently wrapped up a week-long visit to six cities in China, where he showcased Canada’s economic strengths and capabilities and discussed ways to strengthen the Canada-China relationship.
- In December 2009, the Government of China granted Canada Approved Destination Status, a designation that makes it easier for Chinese nationals to visit Canada.
- Canada is continuing a joint study with Japan on a proposed Economic Partnership Agreement. Once concluded, Canada will explore the possibility of negotiations towards an agreement.
- In October 2011, Canada signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Japan Science and Technology Agency to enhance collaboration between Canadian and Japanese research and innovation communities to achieve world-class scientific and technical results, leading to new innovative technologies.
Republic of Korea
- Canada has negotiated further steps towards opening market access with Korea on beef, which will help create a more favourable climate to resume free trade talks.
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
- Canada has adopted a Joint Declaration on Trade and Investment with the ASEAN, which is an important step in strengthening our relationship with this group.
Other Countries in the Asia-Pacific region
- Canada has FIPAs with the Philippines and Thailand and is negotiating agreements with Indonesia, Mongolia and Vietnam. These agreements will provide security and predictability for Canadian investors.
- The Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement entered into force on August 1, 2009.
- The Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement has been in force since 1997. This was the first FTA Canada concluded with a country in South America and work is now underway to modernize the agreement.
- Canada negotiated a free trade agreement with the United States in 1989. This was superseded by the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, which included Mexico.
Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative
- Canada is also committed to the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative which is helping to develop a fast and reliable means of shipping goods to and from Asia.
- The Government of Canada has invested over $1.4 billion in the Asia-Pacific Gateway to improve and expand ports and infrastructure.
- The Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor offers world-class marine, rail, road and air infrastructure closer to Asia than anywhere else in North America. It provides Canada with a competitive advantage in international commerce and contributes to increasing its market share.
- In addition to the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative, Canada also recently approved the issuance of a 20-year licence to export liquefied natural gas from Kitimat, British Columbia to the Asia-Pacific region. This will allow Canada to diversify its energy export markets, further strengthening its trading partnerships with Asian economies.
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
- Canada is committed to working within the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum to promote freer and more open markets in one of the world’s largest economic zones. Since APEC was established in 1989, Canadian trade with Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies grew 176 percent and average tariff rates in the region have declined by more than 70 percent.
- On the education front, Canada is host to nearly 140,000 students from the Asia-Pacific region, and has negotiated eight youth mobility agreements in the region.