Deeper trade between Canada and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a key priority for the Canadian government.

Canadian Minister of International Trade Ed Fast made the declaration at the first meeting of the Canada – ASEAN Business Forum in Singapore recently.

He said that the work of the Canada – ASEAN Business Council (CABC) is helping to strengthen commercial ties between the country and ASEAN in support of the Canadian Government’s ambitious pro-trade plan to create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity.

For this reason, the government will continue to open new markets for its exporters throughout the Southeast Asian region, he added.

CABC was launched in August 2012, and has made significant progress in its first year of operation in helping Canadian companies identify opportunities to increase business links between Canada and the ASEAN countries.

ASEAN is the seventh-largest trading partner of Canada. From 2007 to 2012, bilateral trade turnover expanded by 19.2 percent to reach 15.8 billion USD.-VNA