Canadian business leaders welcome the agreement to launch negotiations toward a Canada-ASEAN free trade agreement.

As outlined in a report we co-published in 2017, the Council has been a long-time supporter of trade talks between Canada and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Today, considering the challenges of the economic recovery, building ties with fast-growing economies is even more important.

While Canada enjoys some of the broadest free trade coverage in the world, there remains a noticeable gap in Southeast Asia. The CPTPP covers some of these markets, but omits others and it does not account for the integrated nature of the ASEAN market.

ASEAN is home to more than 600 million people and a rapidly expanding middle class. It is also strategically located at the centre of the Indo-Pacific region, which increasingly serves as a key hub for the global economy.

An agreement that positions Canadian firms to grow and compete in this critical market, as well as throughout the rest of the Indo-Pacific can enhance economic growth and boost prosperity for all Canadians. Business leaders stand ready to work with the government to ensure we reach a timely and ambitious trade agreement.