A delegation of ASEAN high-level economic officials has visited Canada to further enhance trade and investment relations between the two sides.

The visit sets another significant milestone in ASEAN’s relationship with Canada , one of its oldest dialogue partners, and affirms both sides’ commitment to strengthening trade and economic relations, said Dr. Lim Hong Hin, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Economic Community.

Canada is a big potential market for ASEAN given its natural resources and also serves as a gateway into North American market through the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), he said, adding Canadian businesses should also seize the opportunities availed under the ASEAN Economic Community.

Canada is ASEAN’s 9th largest trading partner and 8 th largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI). The flow of FDI from Canada to ASEAN amounted to 900 million USD in 2012, an increase of 20.3 percent compared to 2011.

In another news, on June 10, during his visit to Indonesia , Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) paid a courtesy call on Secretary-General of ASEAN Le Luong Minh.

Minh briefed the ESCAP delegation on the progress of ASEAN Community building by 2015 as well as the grouping’s opportunities and challenges. He said he looks forward to strengthen ASEAN-ESCAP cooperation to support the ASEAN Community and its Post-2015 Vision.

Akhtar reaffirmed ESCAP’s commitment to further strengthening cooperation with ASEAN in various priority areas such as economic and sustainable development, connectivity, food and energy security, climate change, disaster risk management, transnational crime, and attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

She ensured Minh that ESCAP will play more active role through the UN Regional Coordination Mechanism (RCM) to further promote broader cooperation under the ASEAN-UN Comprehensive Partnership.-VNA