A productive trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia, was successfully concluded Sep 17 by Mary Ng, Canada’s Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business, and Economic Development, where she met with economic ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said a news release.
“The Indo-Pacific region is key for Canada’s economic growth…That is why I am back in Cambodia to strengthen Canada-ASEAN relations and support a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific, with ASEAN at its core,” Ng said in the news release
Ng highlighted the 45th anniversary of Canada-ASEAN relations at the 11th ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) – Canada Consultation including the partnership’s growing engagement across a range of diplomatic, trade, investment, security, and development issues.
Reaffirming Canada’s support for ASEAN centrality and the shared interest in a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region, Ng highlighted opportunities for cooperation under the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.
When Ng announced at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting last month, she demonstrated this commitment to cooperation and common prosperity in the creation of a new Canada-ASEAN trust fund to promote further collaboration and Canada’s strategic objectives in the region, with an initial contribution of $1 million in addition to the $3.7 billion in development assistance that Canada has already provided to ASEAN and its member states since 2000.
Welcoming the recently-completed first round of negotiations toward a Canada-ASEAN free trade agreement in the Indo-Pacific region, Ng underscored that Canada and ASEAN share important interests, including regional stability, rules-based trade, and inclusive economic growth.
She also reiterated that as a Pacific-facing nation, Canada has been deeply engaged in the region and it would be beneficial to all parties for the relationship to be elevated to the Strategic Partner level this year.
At a reception hosted by the Canada-ASEAN Business Council, Ng highlighted how Canada and Cambodia are partnering to support women entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises, contributing to the economic resilience of the region. Ng announced at a meeting with Cambodia’s Minister of Women’s Affairs, Dr. Ing Kantha Phavi, that Canada will be the main external partner in the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Conference to be held in Cambodia next month.
Ng strongly condemned Russia’s unprovoked and unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine, a violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of national sovereignty and territorial integrity throughout her engagements with ASEAN ministers.
Stressing Canada’s readiness to work with ASEAN in finding a peaceful solution, including through the implementation of the ASEAN Five-Point Consensus and the work of the ASEAN Chair’s Special Envoy, Ng thanked Cambodia for hosting the 2022 ASEAN ministerial meetings coinciding with the 45th year of Canada-ASEAN relations.
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