The Canada-ASEAN Business Council (CABC) took part in high-level events surrounding the 54th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ (AEM) Meeting and Related Meetings in Siem Reap, Cambodia, from September 14-18th.
The CABC started its engagements by attending the 20th ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) Meeting with other Joint Business Councils, hosted by H.E. Neak Oknha Kith Meng, Chairman, ASEAN Business Advisory Council 2022. As part of the ASEAN-BAC Working Groups, the CABC contributed to the strategic discussion areas for AEM action including healthcare, green energy transition, digital transformation, supply chain connectivity and resilience, small and medium enterprise (SME) support and development, and digital trade.
On September 17th, the CABC presented recommendations at the 11th AEM-Canada Consultation – the most important trade meeting between ASEAN and Canada – as the voice of the Canadian private sector, alongside the delegation from Global Affairs Canada. The CABC’s delegation was led by President Wayne Farmer, and included Mr. Dominic Jacques, the Deputy Vice-President of International Development at the National Bank of Canada, Mr. Robert Elliott, the Chairman of Manulife Cambodia, and Ms. Olivia Lee, the Chief Representative, Southeast Asia, at Export Development Canada.
CABC Delegation (left to right): Ms. Nicky Lung, Executive Director, CABC; Mr. Robert Elliott, Chairman, Manulife Cambodia; Mr. Wayne Farmer, President, CABC; Ms. Danielle Todesco, Business Development Manager, CABC; Ms. Olivia Lee, Chief Representative, Southeast Asia, Export Development Canada; Mr. Dominic Jacques, Deputy Vice-President, International Development, National Bank of Canada.
On behalf of the private sector, the CABC advocated for the acceleration of negotiations for the Canada-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and Canada-Indonesia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and their timely implementation. Once implemented, the Canada-ASEAN FTA is projected to yield bilateral trade gains of up to 4.3 billion dollars, according to the C.D. Howe Institute. The CABC welcomed the recently completed first round of negotiations for a Canada-ASEAN FTA, and encouraged all parties to adopt a pragmatic, creative, and timely approach in the negotiations.
The CABC also voiced recommendations in the areas of trade liberalisation, business and investment flows, energy transition, and digital economy development, and encouraged active involvement from businesses in advancing the FTA negotiations.
The CABC believes that identifying priority areas for more collaboration between ASEAN and Canada to achieve tangible outcomes are vital. Some of these areas include healthcare, energy security, food security, infrastructure, decarbonization and the digital economy – areas in which Canadian firms hold immense expertise, solutions, and technologies which can be leveraged.