Two free trade agreements are garnering most of the headlines, but there is another, lesser known potential agreement that has piqued the interest of some Canadian farm groups.

Canada is in the midst of contentious negotiations on a revised NAFTA and has yet to ratify the CPTPP. There has been plenty of ink spilled on both of those pacts. But precious little has been said about a potential new agreement between Canada and the ASEAN.

Canada and the ASEAN bloc agreed to launch exploratory discussions on a free trade agreement on Sept. 8, 2017.

One year later, the Canadian government is launching public consultations on a possible Canada-ASEAN agreement.

Interested parties have until Oct. 16 to provide written submissions. The government is looking for ideas, experiences, priorities and how to best improve market access with countries in the ASEAN bloc.

Cam Dahl, president of Cereals Canada, didn’t need that long to provide his thoughts.

“We are strongly supportive of that (deal),” he said.

Claire Citeau, executive director of the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance (CAFTA), hasn’t had time to poll her members about a potential agreement with the ASEAN bloc but in general she felt it is a good development.

“In principal, any access to new markets, in particular in the Asia Pacific region, can only be a good thing,” she said.

“We need to be more engaged in that part of the world.”

Source: The Western Producer

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