Canada wants free trade with the ASEAN bloc, Trade Minister Jim Carr said on Monday (Jul 27) on the eve of a trip to Thailand and Singapore for “exploratory” talks.

Minister Carr on the Aug 28-30 trip will look to promote bilateral trade and investment with Thailand and Singapore – which, along with Canada, is expected to soon ratify the Trans Pacific Partnership – and press for free trade with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The ASEAN-Canada dialogue partnership was established in 1977. Both sides convened a Commemorative Summit to mark the 40th anniversary of dialogue relations last November in Manila.

Canada is ASEAN’s ninth largest trading partner among the Dialogue Partners with total two-way trade estimated at US$13.2 billion in 2017, according to data by the ASEAN Secretariat.

Ottawa is also eyeing free trade with Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, which form the Mercosur bloc, and has suggested a trade deal with China is also in the works, which if successful would make Canada the first Western nation to do reach a free trade deal with Beijing.

Source: Channel News Asia

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