ASEAN, Canada launch negotiations for Free Trade Agreement hinh anh 1At the event. (Photo:

Jakarta (VNA) – The launch of negotiations for an ASEAN-Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was officially announced at the 10th ASEAN Economic Ministers – Canada Consultation on November 17.

The launch of negotiations illustrates the growing depth of ASEAN-Canada economic ties and the importance that each side places on deepening the bilateral relationship, the Secretary of ASEAN said in a press release.

This also represents a significant milestone in the ASEAN-Canada relationship and a meaningful step in Canada’s renewed commitment to trade and economic engagement in the region, it said.

According to the Secretary General of ASEAN Dato Lim Jock Hoi, the FTA would strengthen ASEAN-Canada economic relations, connect ASEAN closer to the global value chains, and improve market access for both ASEAN and Canadian firms.

The announcement builds on strong economic relations between ASEAN and Canada, which has witnessed a steady growth since the establishment of the official dialogue relationship in 1977.

In the past year, bilateral trade relations between the two sides remained strong despite the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the global economy. According to Canada’s statistics, in 2020 total two-way merchandise trade was valued at 19.9 billion USD, reflecting a slight decrease of 2.4 percent year-on-year.

The stock of foreign direct investment (FDI) from Canada to ASEAN Member States reached 12.5 billion USD, an increase of 11.7 percent year-on-year, while the stock of FDI from ASEAN Member States to Canada was 1.2 billion USD, a decrease of 0.9 percent year-on-year./.