The CABC is pleased to announce that Canada and ASEAN have agreed to commence exploratory discussions on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), following the Sixth ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) – Canada Consultations on September 8th in Manila, Philippines. 

At the meeting, the Ministers further agreed to a formal feasibility study on a Canada-ASEAN FTA, to be conducted in parallel to the launch of the exploratory discussions. The statement comes one year after Canada and ASEAN agreed to the drafting of terms of reference for an FTA feasibilty study between Canada and ASEAN, following the Fifth ASEAN AEM – Canada Consultation in Laos, August 2016.

This move is an indication that Canada and ASEAN firmly recognize the immense potential that awaits deeper economic integration between our regions, and that the political will exists to move an agreement across the line quickly. Following the announcement, ASEAN now joins China as one of Canada’s major potential FTA partners in the exploratory discussion phase.

The AEM-Canada Consultations were co-chaired by Canada’s Parliamentary Secretary to International Trade, Pamela Goldsmith-Jones (on behalf of Minister of Trade François-Philippe Champagne), and Philippines Secretary of Trade Ramon M. Lopez. The meeting commenced with CABC’s annual policy presentation and dialogue with the Ministers, presented by CABC President Wayne Farmer, with Executive Director Greg Ross.

This announcement follows the May 2017 release of The ASEAN Advantage, our joint report examining the actual economic impact of a Canada-ASEAN FTA. This report was benchmarked on the terms of the successful Australia – New Zealand – ASEAN agreement (AANZFTA) reached in 2012, and showed that a deal could add an additional C$11 billion in additional annual bi-lateral trade between our two regions by 2027 (results which the CABC considers a conservative estimate).

Our Members represent Canada’s most committed companies to the ASEAN region, and this decision marks an important step closer to attaining the best possible trading environment for their businesses.


-The CABC Team