Canada has agreed to commence exploratory discussions on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the 10 member nations that make up Asean, according to an announcement by the Canada-Asean Business Council (CABC).
The announcement comes after Canadian officials held consultation meetings with delegates of Asean member states during the ninth meeting of the Asean Economic Ministers in Manila last weekend, with the two sides agreeing to launch formal feasibility studies for a Canada-Asean FTA. Canada first began discussions on a FTA with Asean in 2016.
“This move is an indication that Canada and Asean firmly recognise the immense potential that awaits deeper economic integration between our regions, and that the political will exists to move an agreement across the line quickly,” CABC said in a statement.
“Asean now joins China as one of Canada’s major potential FTA partners in the exploratory discussion phase,” it added.
A CABC report published in May, a bilateral trade agreement with Asean could generate between $3.9 billion to $8.9 billion in additional trade in the first 10 years.