ASEAN, Canada agree to launch bilateral FTA negotiations hinh anh 1The ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) – Canada Consultation was held virtually on November 17. (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – ASEAN member countries and Canada have agreed to launch negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) during the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) – Canada Consultation which was held virtually on November 17.

The event was co-chaired by Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II of Brunei, and Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development of Canada.

The FTA is among economic priorities in the ASEAN Chairmanship Year of Brunei.

The ministers tasked officials to develop a work plan to take forward the negotiations as soon as possible.

They discussed the trade and investment situation in the region amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the Canada-ASEAN Business Council (CABC)’s recommendations to strengthen bilateral economic cooperation.

The ministers also exchanged views on measures to respond to COVID-19 impacts on the economies of the regional countries, and reaffirmed commitments to continue seeking ways to reduce the pandemic’s impacts.

They also underlined the need for global cooperation, including the ensuring of access to vaccine supplies in an equal, safe and efficient manner.

At the meeting, Vietnam and other ASEAN member countries welcomed contributions by Canada to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund to promote a stronger economic recovery from the pandemic.

Vietnam actively engaged in the discussion and gave proposals on cooperation orientations between ASEAN and Canada in the time to come to ensure the smooth circulation of goods and services, reinforcing regional supply chains amid a changing global economy and negative impacts of COVID-19./.