Canada-ASEAN Business Council
CABC Advocacy Roadmap 2018
CABC’s core mandate is to foster deeper trade ties between Canada and ASEAN. Pursuing a formal FTA with ASEAN will provide Canada with substantial economic returns and will generate important business opportunities for Canadian companies trading with the 10 member-states of ASEAN. CABC also supports the speedy ratification of the CPTPP, which promotes increased access to 4 of the 10 ASEAN countries.
While challenges to entering ASEAN markets are numerous, CABC’s current focus is on easing travel for ASEAN employees of Canadian companies. CABC also supports enhanced bilateral access for Canadians in the ASEAN region through easier access to programs like the APEC Business Travel Cards.
Despite the value of international experience in preparing the next generation of Canada’s global leaders, only a low number of students participate in international programs. The implementation of formal programs to support student exchanges and internship opportunities will allow for increased cultural and business understanding.
ACCELERATING THE CANADA-ASEAN FTA DISCUSSIONS
Since the commencement of exploratory negotiations on a Canada-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement in 2017, the CABC has conducted several case studies and reports on the economic benefits within the region such as The ASEAN Advantage. In 2018, CABC will release a follow-up report outlining benefits of deeper trade with Canada for ASEAN companies. The CABC recommends that the Canadian government increase resources and leadership dedicated to this cause and further engage its ASEAN counterparts to accelerate the implementation of a Canada-ASEAN FTA. The CABC encourages the Canadian Government to openly share trade reports and results to create a wider impact for Canada and ASEAN stakeholders.
ENTRY INTO FORCE OF THE TPP11
In addition to the exploratory announcement of the Canada-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement, Canada and four ASEAN Member-States (Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, and Brunei) are signatory to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). CABC is in support of the swift entry into force of the agreement by Canada. The stringent set of standards that the CPTPP provides addresses many of the regulatory obstacles faced by CABC Members in ASEAN and the fruition of the partnership would be constructive for both Canadian and ASEAN companies.
APEC BUSINESS TRAVEL CARDS
With complex visa requirements and costs, travel from Canada and ASEAN can be a challenge in certain countries. Though the APEC Business Travel Cards (ABTC) is an excellent solution for Canadians in select ASEAN countries, it remains difficult for Canadians in ASEAN to apply for the program. CABC has suggested to the Minister of Public Safety that Canadian missions in ASEAN may issue ABTCs directly to Canadians living abroad (notably in Singapore, Manila, and Hong Kong), and ensure proper APEC access at airports.
CABC Members want easier visa processing for ASEAN employees of Canadian companies – particularly for longer-term headquarters assignments. While no short-term visas required for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, other ASEAN Member states still require visas upon arrival or in advance. By providing more short-term visas, more flexibility on longer-term assignments and exploring possibility of work-holiday visas for ASEAN countries, the governments can encourage greater collaboration between Canadian and ASEAN.
CABC BUSINESS FORUM
The CABC hosts the Canada-ASEAN Business Forum every 18 months. The first was held in Singapore in 2013, followed by second Forum in Bangkok 2015 and Jakarta in 2016. With 300 over participants each year, the Forum is CABC’s flagship event that connects top business leaders, senior governmental officials and private stakeholders from Canada and ASEAN. The event facilitates high-level networking, mentorship and discussion for the Canada-ASEAN trade relationship. The 4th CABC Business Forum will take place in Singapore on 21 – 22 March 2018.
ASEAN-CANADA BILATERAL EDUCATION EXCHANGES
The CABC supports the University of Victoria’s bid for a Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Program, the ASEAN Co-op Program (in cooperation with CanChamThailand), and further similar programs to promote greater human-to-human interactions among our next generation leaders. Accompanying educational exchange, CABC supports bilateral access to international internships.
WORK PERMITS AND VISAS
The CABC encourages the Canadian government to negotiate the right for Canadian University students to obtain work permits to complete internships in markets like Singapore where countries other than Canada have these arrangements in place for their university students. This includes access for Canadians to the Singapore Working Holiday visa programme. Such actions can boost the future generation’s interests and understanding within the region.