ASEAN, Canada boast huge cooperation potential.(Photo: asean.org)

Toronto (VNA) – ASEAN-Canada relations and measures to harmonise the American country’s benefits with ASEAN development progress in the context of shifting power among great rivalries were discussed at a roundtable held in Toronto, Canada from October 26-28.

The biennial event, held by the Canadian Council for Southeast Asian Studies (CCSEAS) under York University, drew the participation of tens of scholars, experts and representatives from the Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and embassies of ASEAN member states.

ASEAN and Canada need to identify potential cooperation sectors as well as promote measures to ensure collaboration efficiency, said Ian Burchett, Director General of the Southeast Asia Bureau under the GAC, highlighting that both sides have studied the possibility of putting forth the bilateral free trade agreement and they are working to step up win-win solutions.

Indonesian Ambassador to Canada Teuku Faizasyah stressed on potential cooperation sectors between the two sides like education, infrastructure development and trade.

Meanwhile, Joshua Brown, a representative from the ASEAN-Canada Business Council, said that Canadian enterprises want to enlarge trade scale with ASEAN and furthering two-way trade will bring benefits to the private and public sectors of both sides. However, he said, ASEAN needs to show off its strengths, potentials and opportunities to promote cooperative ties.

Solutions to bringing security and stability in the East Sea and East China Sea were on the table at the discussion on ASEAN and regional navigation issues. Experts highlighted ASEAN’s roles, as a unified and solid bloc, in ensuring regional security and balancing benefits among involved parties.

PhD Nguyen Dai Trang from the Canada-Vietnam Society noted that ASEAN has considerable experience in tackling regional disputes and it is crucial to understand history of the East Sea to handle the disputes with the best solutions.

Meanwhile, Luis Silva from the Centennial College believed that Canada’s prosperity depends on peace and security of the waters that occupies 30 percent of the world’s total trade flows.

As ASEAN is celebrating its 50th birthday and 40 years of relations with Canada in 2017, the conference created opportunities for both sides to study challenges, advantages and potential in bilateral ties, thus find out ways to bolster bilateral relations effectively and sustainably.-VNA