Canada and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have a longstanding, strong, and growing partnership. We are working together with ASEAN and the greater Indo-Pacific region to tackle global challenges, create jobs, grow our economies, drive climate action, and improve quality of life for all our peoples.
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today met with the President of Indonesia and current Chair of ASEAN, Joko Widodo, in Jakarta, Indonesia to strengthen ties between our two countries. He also announced new funding to improve security and strengthen Canada’s economic ties with the Indo-Pacific region ahead of the 43rd ASEAN Summit.
The leaders announced a Joint Understanding on Development Cooperation, which commits Canada and Indonesia to work together more closely on development that helps accelerate progress toward the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Prime Minister Trudeau also announced the opening of an Export Development Canada (EDC) office in Jakarta. This increased Canadian presence in Indonesia will help Canadian companies do business in the region and encourage Canada’s growing trade in areas like clean tech, infrastructure, and agri-food.
Over the next two days, Prime Minister Trudeau will attend the ASEAN Summit and mark the beginning of a new era in Canada-ASEAN relations with the official launch of the ASEAN-Canada Strategic Partnership. Canada’s trade with ASEAN is growing faster than ever before: An 18 per cent growth in trade in 2021 jumped to 28.8 per cent in 2022. Canada has been an ASEAN dialogue partner since 1977, and now, as Canada is elevated to strategic partner, we will enhance our cooperation even further on peace and security, encouraging development, and building stronger ties between our people and economic ties that will benefit everyone.
On his first day in Jakarta, the Prime Minister also highlighted that we are increasing our diplomatic and trade presence in the region with the appointment of Paul Thoppil as the first Canadian Indo-Pacific Trade Representative (CIPTR). A major milestone of the Indo-Pacific Strategy, the new CIPTR will facilitate and promote trade, investment, and supply chain resilience between Canada and the region, helping Canadian exporters do business there and creating good Canadian jobs. The Prime Minister also announced upcoming Team Canada Trade Missions to the Indo-Pacific, including Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, and Vietnam, to further help promote Canada’s competitive advantage to exporters and innovators in these countries, and facilitate long-term trade and investment opportunities as Canada and ASEAN negotiate a free trade agreement.
The Prime Minister confirmed FinDev Canada will be opening a new office in the Indo-Pacific region, which will further support private sector sustainable development initiatives, drive economic growth, and create good jobs. FinDev’s expanded presence in Asia will focus on supporting renewable energy, transportation, water, and digital infrastructure solutions. This will also help our global partners achieve the SDGs.
As part of our mutual interest in protecting peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region, Prime Minister Trudeau today announced the following security initiatives ahead of the ASEAN summit:
- To help ASEAN Member States and the ASEAN Secretariat to prevent, detect, and respond to biological threats like pandemics, Canada’s Mitigation of Biological Threats in the ASEAN Region Program will deliver an additional $10 million in funding to ASEAN between 2023 and 2028.
- To reduce the threat to Southeast Asian populations of a nuclear or radiological security incident, Canada’s Weapons Threat Reduction Program is providing $2.6 million to the World Institute for Nuclear Security to support sustainable nuclear security training in Thailand and help expand training on nuclear security competencies within Southeast Asia.
The Prime Minister also announced funding of over $13 million for two development assistance sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) projects in Indonesia, to further advance the rights of women and girls by improving access to quality and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information and services.
Canada is a champion of green infrastructure as foundational to the global energy transition, and as a key to achieving the SDGs. By sharing our skills and resources in clean technology, green infrastructure, and development, we can support global partners in building infrastructure that promotes decarbonization, strengthens resilience to climate shocks, and improves gender equality. On September 6, at the ASEAN Summit, the Prime Minister will participate in the leader’s talk on “Green Infrastructure and Resilient Supply Chains” where he will highlight Canada’s position as a global leader in sustainable development and clean technology and speak to some new green infrastructure projects that Canada is supporting in the Indo-Pacific:
- A $40 million loan to the Karian Serpong Water Supply Project will improve access to safe and clean water for over two million people in Jakarta and surrounding areas.
- The Indonesia Sustainable Least-cost Electrification-1 (ISLE-1) Program, which will increase access to sustainable and lower-cost electricity for around 2 million people in eastern Indonesia and scale up solar power investments, is supported by a $64.05 million loan from Canada. This project will also help lower the cost of power generation by 20 per cent.
As we adapt to a rapidly changing world and face shared challenges and crises, Canada values the deepening relationship with ASEAN. Canada supports ASEAN centrality and ASEAN’s Outlook on the Indo-Pacific as, together, we work toward a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. We will continue to work together to build a safer, more sustainable, and more prosperous world for everyone.
“In the face of challenge, we are stronger together. The warm welcome and constructive conversations we are having here in Indonesia are a testament to Canada’s strong friendships and growing relationship with the Indo-Pacific region. Together, we’re creating good jobs, protecting peace and security, and forging a better future for people on both sides of the Pacific.”
- Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, released in November 2022, advances and defends Canada’s interests by supporting a more secure, prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable Indo-Pacific region while protecting Canada’s national and economic security at home and abroad.
- The Indo-Pacific is the fastest growing economic region in the world, and Canada’s second-largest merchandise export market after the United States of America, with annual two-way trade valued at $270 billion in 2022.
- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional intergovernmental organization comprising 10 member states with the objective to accelerate economic growth, social progress, and cultural development; promote regional peace and stability, respect for justice, and the rule of law; and increase collaboration across a range of economic, social, cultural, technical, scientific, and administrative spheres.
- While in Jakarta, Prime Minister Trudeau and ASEAN leaders will highlight the Canada-ASEAN Partnership Forum on Education, to be held in Vancouver, British Columbia, in November 2023, welcoming over 250 delegates from the world of education to build connections between academic institutions in Canada and in the ASEAN region.
- This is the fourth ASEAN Summit Prime Minister Trudeau will participate in. He also participated in summits in 2017, 2018, and 2022.
- ASEAN member state economies represent Canada’s fourth-largest trading partner, with nearly $41 billion in bilateral trade in 2022.
- Indonesia, a founding member of ASEAN, has about 35 per cent of ASEAN’s total GDP and was Canada’s 19th-largest trading partner worldwide in 2022. In that year, Canadian merchandise exports to Indonesia were valued at $3.3 billion, up 40 per cent year on year.
- The Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development, Mary Ng, accompanied the Prime Minister in Indonesia.
- Backgrounder: Canada’s growing relationship with ASEAN and the Indo-Pacific region
- Joint Leaders’ Statement on ASEAN-Canada Strategic Partnership
- ASEAN-Canada Joint Leaders’ Statement on strengthening food security and nutrition in response to crises