Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Philippine President Benigo Aquino announced initiatives to boost security and commercial ties between the two countries on May 8.

The two sides stated the start of a study on the possibility of forming a free trade agreement (FTA) and the upgrade of the existing Investment Promotion and Mutual Protection Agreement, which was signed in the 1996.

Besides, Canada will create favorable conditions for the ASEAN member country to access such agencies as the Trade and Development Foundation (CTDF) and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Department (DFATD), which are tasked to support developing countries in negotiating and implementing trade-investment agreements between Canada and other countries.

The pair inked a five -year mutual responsible frame (until February 2020), renewing the sustainable, effective and transparent cooperation in development assistance.

In the field of security, PM Stephen Harper announced three new initiatives worth 3.58 million USD, aiming to intensify collaboration with the Philippines in coping with regional and global threats.

President Benigno Aquino visited Canada from May 7-9. The Philippines is Canada’s sixth largest trading partners in the Southeast Asian region, with bilateral trade hitting 1.8 billion USD in 2014.-VNA