On March 31st, 2021, the CABC was pleased to host its Annual General Meeting (AGM) and welcomed 65 representatives from CABC Members and partners across Canada and the ASEAN region.

Promising Economic Recovery in 2021

Despite the unprecedented challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, there is a shared sense of optimism for economic recovery and the future of trade relations between Canada and Southeast Asia. 

With Canada-ASEAN trade relations totalling $26.7B in 2020, this economic relationship is expected to rebound in the coming year. This recovery is demonstrated through increasing sentiments of trade liberalization, supported by pent-up demand, low interest rates, and declining protectionist measures. 

Forging Stronger Canada-ASEAN Economic Ties 

The advancement of Canada-ASEAN trade relations is an economic priority. Closer economic ties between the two regions will strengthen supply chains, speed up economic recovery, and increase mutual economic competitiveness on a global scale. 

Three key developments in this deepening of Canada-ASEAN economic ties include:

  1. Canada-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (FTA) – Brunei, current ASEAN chair, has announced that the launch of negotiations of a Canada-ASEAN FTA is one of its top priorities for the region’s economic recovery. With the FTA, this would put Canada on a level playing field with countries like Australia and Japan. 
  2. Canada-Indonesia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) – Indonesia is the largest economy in ASEAN. The potential Canada-Indonesia CEPA has gained strong support from the private sector. In response to the Government of Canada’s public consultation, the CABC has made a submission, with members’ inputs, in February 2021 to help guide Canada’s priorities from the outset. 
  3. The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) – With the United Kingdom applying for accession and other countries showing interest in joining the agreement, there is great potential to expand the agreement further to other countries in the region such as Thailand and the Philippines.

CABC: Looking Ahead into 2021

In 2020, the CABC hosted its first-ever fully virtual Canada-ASEAN Business Leaders Series, which provided members direct engagement opportunities with senior government officials and private-sector leaders across Canada and ASEAN. The CABC looks forward to deepening existing partnerships with Global Affairs Canada, seven ASEAN-based CanChams, and business councils to make the Canada-ASEAN Business Leaders Series 2021 an even greater success.

The CABC also presented its three-year Advocacy Roadmap 2021-2023, in which it will focus its efforts on three main areas:

  1. Increasing Canada-ASEAN trade
  2. Strengthening connectivity and facilitating business
  3. Developing thought leadership and talent

We sincerely thank our members and partners for their support towards the CABC. In the year ahead, the CABC looks forward to growing the voice of the Canadian private sector in the ASEAN region and supporting the growth of its members.