ASEAN - Canada Trade Roundtable Meeting Explores Strategic Partnership on Trade and Clean Energy
Jakarta, September 5, 2023 - The ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) in collaboration with the Canada-ASEAN Business Council (CABC), hosted the ASEAN-Canada Trade Roundtable Meeting at the Sultan Hotel in Jakarta on Tuesday, September 5, 2023.
The theme of the ASEAN-Canada Trade Roundtable was "Strengthening ASEAN-Canada Opportunities for Sustainable Development.” As noted by Chairman of ASEAN-BAC Arsjad Rasjid, the roundtable was held with the objective of fostering tangible private sector partnerships to address the most pertinent issues of mutual concern, including accelerating the journey to Net Zero and ensuring long-term food security.
"The high-level meeting focused on how ASEAN countries and Canada can expand market opportunities, promote partnerships for clean energy, and facilitate trade and investment flows through Canada to accelerate ASEAN's role in global sustainable growth," Mr. Arsjad commented during his opening address at the ASEAN-Canada Trade Roundtable Meeting.
Among the attendees were Ian Mckay, Canada's Special Envoy for the Indo-Pacific, Vicky Singmin, Canada’s Ambassador to ASEAN, and Wayne Farmer, President of the Canada-ASEAN Business Council.
Mr. Arsjad expressed his appreciation for the attention given to ASEAN by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, considering ASEAN as a strategic partner for Canada in the Indo-Pacific region. However, he stressed the need for more concrete plans and strategies to enhance cooperation in the Southeast Asian region.
"As we hosted Prime Minister Trudeau during the G20 Summit in Bali, he conveyed Canada's significant steps in participating in ASEAN's sustainable development through the establishment of the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) with Indonesia and Vietnam," Mr. Arsjad disclosed.
He further elaborated that this strategic partnership has resulted in substantial funding support from Canada to assist Indonesia and Vietnam in transitioning from coal to renewable energy sources.
Mr. Farmer has noted the impressive progress that ASEAN and Canada have made recently, especially with reinvigorated economic commitment to the region driven by Canada’s new Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS) and progression of the Canada-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement negotiations. The CABC President expressed his commitment to supporting this ongoing trade and investment cooperation between Canada and ASEAN countries, given the crucial role of the private sector.
"CABC represents Canada and ASEAN countries in endorsing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) agreements and evaluating the agreements and strategies in place. Canada is a leader in the fields of agriculture, technology innovation, and renewable energy. This cooperation aims to assist ASEAN countries in achieving sustainable development and transitioning to renewable energy," stated by Mr. Farmer.
According to Canada's Ambassador to Japan and Special Envoy for the Indo-Pacific, Ian Mckay, Canada will soon be announced as a strategic partner of ASEAN.
Canada has launched its Indo-Pacific Strategy with five pillars, including security and military surveillance, in collaboration with Indonesia. In the realm of trade, through free trade and economic partnership agreements, Canada is also fostering exchanges among people, including academics, researchers, and experts.
"We are increasing climate funding through active participation in climate financing institutions in ASEAN. In diplomacy, we continue to expand Canada's presence in ASEAN," Mr. McKay elaborated.
Mr. Arsjad mentioned that Canada is blessed with abundant natural energy resources, including hydropower, wind, and geothermal power generation. Canada also possesses the technical expertise and cutting-edge technology that the ASEAN industries require for rapid growth.
“The CABC firmly believes that Canada, as a global leader in agricultural commodities, clean energy, critical minerals, and tech innovation, is well-positioned to be a trusted partner to ASEAN in many critical areas, including Clean Energy and Energy Transition, Food Security, and Digital Economy for SME empowerment and inclusive growth” Mr. Farmer added.
Furthermore, the business community in Canada is driven by strong efforts toward the best sustainable business practices as part of their corporate strategies.
"We aim to learn from businesses like Air Canada, Pacific Energy, and others in this discussion about how we can motivate our business world to do the same," Mr. Arsjad stated.
He expressed optimism that the ASEAN-Canada Trade Roundtable Meeting would pave the way for new developments, ambitious projects, and growing partnerships between ASEAN states and businesses.
To complement this development, a greater focus on potential areas of collaboration and investment is needed. ASEAN must evolve quickly in response to global economic changes through building interconnectedness to address unprecedented growth.
"We hope to explore potential sustainable sectors, including collaboration and innovation to reduce corporate waste and empower women leaders in the energy sector," said Mr. Arsjad.
He added that the ASEAN-Canada Trade Roundtable Meeting is also expected to reduce trade barriers, enabling Canadian companies to provide support in infrastructure, technology, and investment to help ASEAN member countries achieve their carbon emissions reduction targets.