The meeting was jointly chaired by Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia and SOM Leader of Malaysia, Dato’ Sri Amran Mohamed Zin and Assistant Deputy Minister for Asia Pacific of Global Affairs Canada, Weldon Epp, with the participation of ASEAN Senior Officials, representatives of the ASEAN Secretariat, and Timor-Leste as an observer.

The 20th ASEAN - Canada Dialogue opens in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on May 30, 2023. (Photo:

At the event, Canada conveyed its unwavering support for ASEAN community-building efforts, assistance towards the region’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and commitment to ASEAN centrality through its active participation in ASEAN-led mechanisms.

Both sides welcomed positive advancement made in the implementation of the ASEAN-Canada Plan of Action (2021-2025) and acknowledged the strengthening of cooperation between both sides across the three ASEAN Community pillars.

They shared the significance of intensifying economic cooperation in key areas of trade and investment. Recognizing the economic potential, they looked forward to the constructive progress of the ongoing ASEAN - Canada Free Trade (FTA) negotiations. Looking ahead, the meeting looked forward to the 4th ASEAN - Canada FTA Trade Negotiating Committee (TNC) Meeting, scheduled for this June.

Under the ambit of future cooperation, the two sides highlighted the importance of enhancing partnership in the four key areas outlined in the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) through concrete projects to support its implementation, in complementarity with Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS), launched in November 2022.

They emphasized the need to work closely to further enhance cooperation to combat transnational crime and counter terrorism as well as promote maritime cooperation. The meeting also encouraged greater collaboration on cybersecurity, connectivity and infrastructure, transport, trade and investment, micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), including women entrepreneurship, digital economy and financial infrastructure.    

In addition, they discussed and called for cooperation to narrowing the development gap in ASEAN and promote collaboration on energy and minerals, food security, science, technology and innovation, disaster management, public health security, youth and women empowerment, Women Peace and Security Agenda, protection of the rights of migrant workers, education, people-to-people exchanges, tourism and sports, smart cities, environment and climate change, including clean water and social services, biodiversity, and sustainable development.

To support its collaborative programs with ASEAN, Canada highlighted the establishment of the ASEAN - Canada Plan of Action Trust Fund this year. Correspondingly, the meeting shared the significance of developing practical programs and activities that are tangible, sustainable, mutually beneficial, regional in nature and adaptive to current challenges and needs of ASEAN.

Source: VNA