Canada and ASEAN Launch Official Negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) at the 10th AEM-Canada Consultations

The Canada-ASEAN Business Council is delighted to share that Canada and ASEAN have agreed to launch negotiations for a Canada-ASEAN FTA on November 17th, 2021 (Read official announcement from Global Affairs Canada here). 

Formal negotiations of a Canada-ASEAN FTA were launched at the 10th AEM-Canada Consultations, the most important annual trade meeting between Canada and ASEAN (Read the Joint Media Statement here). 

The CABC, led by Wayne Farmer, President and the Hon. Jean Charest, Honorary Chair, joined Minister Mary Ng and Canada’s delegation to the Consultations, by commencing the meeting with a presentation offering key recommendations from the Canadian private sector – including supporting the launch of a Canada-ASEAN FTA, reopening of borders and travel and enabling ASEAN’s digital economy and Green Recovery. 

Two CABC Member representatives, Mr. Sachin Shah, General Manager of Emerging Markets at Manulife, and Mr. Eme Onuoha, Managing Director of International Public Affairs at the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), offered their remarks to demonstrate the commitment of the Canadian private sector in jointly working with ASEAN towards our shared goals. This highlighted the importance of the partnerships between ASEAN and Canada’s private sector, as leading Canadian companies will continue to play an even larger role in the development and long-term growth of the ASEAN Member States (AMS). 

Aside from Manulife and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, the CABC delegation also included senior representatives from Scotiabank, National Bank of Canada, Bank of Montreal, Export Development Canada, and Sun Life Financial.

The ASEAN Economic Ministers echoed their support for the CABC’s stated priorities and reaffirmed their commitment to continue working with the CABC further under the 2022 Cambodia ASEAN Chairmanship to implement key initiatives that support integration between Canada and ASEAN. Some of these include the timely progression of negotiations for the Canada-ASEAN FTA, the Bandar Seri Begawan Roadmap (BSBR) to develop the ASEAN digital economy, the ASEAN Travel Corridor Arrangement Framework (ATCAF) to facilitate business travel within the region, and more collaboration between Canada and ASEAN on environmental challenges and sustainable infrastructure development. 

Dato Lim Jock Hoi, the Secretary-General of ASEAN and several ASEAN Member States acknowledged the CABC’s dedication in representing the collective voice of Canadian businesses and thanked the CABC’s efforts in advancing Canada-ASEAN free trade. 

The CABC stands ready to facilitate private sector inputs in the negotiations process for the Canada-ASEAN FTA and will continue to grow a stronger Canada-ASEAN business community to ensure that both sides maximize the benefit of the FTA in the years to come.

For any further questions or comments please contact the CABC team at:

Mr. Wayne Farmer, President


Ms. Nicky Lung, Executive Director


Tel: +65 9235 6050

Mr. Greg Ross, Advisor


Ms. Danielle Todesco, Business Development Manager


Tel: +65 9016 8244