Ottawa (VNA) – Experts from Canada and ASEAN member countries as well as leaders of businesses of both sides gathered at an online conference on July 29 by York University ‘s Centre for Asian Studies to discuss the Canada-ASEAN connectivity , especially in business and education.
Participants highlighted the Canada-ASEAN relations in business and education and sought ways to further deepen their collaboration.
Rhonda L. Lenton, President of York University reaffirmed commitments to expanding partnership with ASEAN as well as hope to explore new cooperation opportunities.
Meanwhile, Vietnamese Ambassador to Canada Pham Cao Phong underlined the high cooperation potential between ASEAN and Canada in various fields.
He expressed his hope that connections among leading businesses of both sides will lie not only in trade and supply chains but also in investment, especially in the fields of green energy and climate change-related industries, thus completing the goal of developing green and sustainable economy.
Businesses from ASEAN and Canada should focus on making full use of existing agreements such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), he suggested.
The Vietnamese diplomat also proposed that the two sides strengthen collaboration in vocational training and giving training courses on economic laws to enterprises of both sides.
With more than 20,000 students studying in Canada, Vietnam is the fifth largest country in the number of students in the country, he noted. He held that ASEAN and Canada should strengthen activities to promote each other’s tourism.
Ambassador Phong thanked Canada for its commitment of 3.5 million CAD to the ASEAN COVID-19 Respond Fund in the next five years. He asked Canada to support struggling ASEAN countries in dealing with the fourth COVID-19 wave.
As a dialogue partner of the ASEAN since 1977, Canada has contributed important resources to narrow development gap in the region. Since 2000, Canada has offered nearly 3.7 billion CAD to support development in ASEAN and its member countries.
Trade between Canada and ASEAN reached 26.6 billion CAD in 2020, a slight drop compared to 27.2 billion USD in 2019 due to COVID-19 impacts.
ASEAN is the fifth largest trade partner of Canada in 2020.
For his part, Richard Le Bars, head of the Canadian Mission to ASEAN, said that Canada is seeking ways to launch negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) with ASEAN .
A bilateral FTA can bring considerable benefits to both sides, not only in trade and investment but also in people-to-people exchange and education.
Leonard F. Hutabarat, Indonesian Consul General to Toronto, said that there is high potential to boost trade between Canada and 10 ASEAN member countries where the middle class is growing and developing infrastructure is offering numerous opportunities for investors.
At the conference, participants also highlighted the valuable chances that may be brought from the close Canada-ASEAN relationship, while providing foundations allowing governments, universities and officials of Canada and ASEAN member countries to share information and foster partnership./.
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