Director General of the ASEAN Cooperation Department from the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Jose Tavares said the role of SMEs is important to boosting economic development in ASEAN.


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He also urged Canada to help SMEs in ASEAN with digital innovation.

The Canadian side promised to continue empowering SMEs in ASEAN through the Canada-Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development project on ASEAN SMEs.

Through the project, Canada will build conductive policies and programs to encourage ASEAN’s SMEs to join global supply chains.

At the meeting, the Indonesian Government also welcomed Canada’s initiative to form an ASEAN-Canada free trade agreement (FTA) in the future, which looks to exploit cooperation potential with ASEAN - the sixth largest trade partner of the North American nation.

The Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia is working with Canadian experts to study the possibility of setting up the FTA, Tavares revealed.

The results of the study will be presented at a meeting of senior economic officials of ASEAN and Canada in early July 2017, and the deal is hoped to be agreed this year.

Source: VNA