The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced she will participate in the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Canada Post-Ministerial Conference and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) meetings in Bangkok, Thailand, on August 1 and 2, 2019.
During her visit to Bangkok, the Minister will meet with counterparts to discuss and coordinate international efforts on pressing political and security issues in the region, such as the situation on the Korean Peninsula, the Rohingya crisis and tensions in the South China Sea. She will also highlight the importance to Canada – as a Pacific nation – of continuing to work together with ASEAN partners to defend the rules-based international order in the Indo-Pacific region.
“Canada remains a strong friend and partner of ASEAN. We are proud to work closely with our ASEAN partners in support of peace and security, sustainable development and economic growth for all people in Southeast Asia and beyond.”
– Hon. Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P., Minister of Foreign Affairs
ASEAN is a dynamic region with over 647 million people and a combined GDP of over US$2.92 trillion.
Thailand is the 2019 ASEAN Chair and is responsible for organizing and chairing a series of multilateral meetings. The theme for Thailand’s year as chair is “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability”. Vietnam will take over as chair in 2020.
Canada has been an ASEAN dialogue partner for the last 42 years. Canada is a founding member of the ARF, the premier foreign-minister led multilateral security and defence forum in the Indo-Pacific region.
This is Minister Freeland’s third consecutive ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference and Regional Forum. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended the ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings as Guest of the Chair in 2017 and 2018.
Collectively, ASEAN member-state economies represent Canada’s sixth-largest merchandise trading partner. In 2018, Canada-ASEAN merchandise trade reached a value of $25 billion.
Canada-Thailand bilateral merchandise trade reached $4.3 billion in 2018, up from $4 billion in 2017. Thailand is currently Canada’s second largest overall trading partner in ASEAN.