Both sides highlighted the importance of continuing efforts to effectively implement the new Plan of Action (2021-2025), adopted at the ASEAN - Canada Ministerial Meeting in September last year.

In this spirit, the meeting agreed to deepen collaboration in the areas of trade and investment; micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) development; public health; innovation including entrepreneurship and start-ups; digital economy; education; gender equality; women, peace and security; and connectivity.

Canada-ASEAN. Photo:

The meeting highlighted the importance of collaboration towards post COVID-19 recovery, and ensuring fair, equitable and global access of vaccines. ASEAN also welcomed Canada’s interest to contribute to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund, as well as cooperation through initiatives such as the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework.

ASEAN also appreciated Canada’s support to ASEAN Community building and integration efforts through cooperation programs such as; the Canada - ASEAN Scholarships and Educational Exchanges for Development (SEED); the Canada - OECD Project for ASEAN SMEs (COPAS); and the “TRIANGLE in ASEAN initiative” to promote safe and fair labour migration.

Moving forward, both sides underscored the significance of enhancing economic relations and looked forward to advancing discussion on a possible ASEAN - Canada Free Trade Agreement, which is also one of the priority economic deliverables of Brunei Darussalam’s Chairmanship of ASEAN this year.

Taking note that next year marks the 45th Anniversary of the ASEAN - Canada Dialogue Partnership, Canada looked forward to engaging ASEAN on potential commemorative events.

Source: VNA