Trudeau: Canada ‘ideal’ ASEAN trade partner
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday pitched Canada to be in an “ideal position” to work with the 10-member states of the Association of Southeast-Asian Nations (ASEAN) on trade.
During the ASEAN-Canada 40th Anniversary Commemorative Summit, Trudeau said Canada “is not only willing, but ready” to be ASEAN’s “key partner” for the next 50 years, noting that it is the first time that a prime minister of Canada will participate in the East Asia Summit.
“This will allow Canada to be a full, dynamic partner of ASEAN, a partner that can truly contribute to the organization and its mission,” Trudeau told
ASEAN leaders led by President Rodrigo Duterte, this year’s chairman.
“Our stance on free trade puts us in an ideal position to work with you to encourage growth that benefits everyone, and that is sustainable. Done right, we believe trade can create good, well-paying jobs for the middle-class and those working hard to join it,” he said.
Canada, he said, is committed to have a “strengthened partnership” with the ASEAN to contribute to the bloc’s “economic future that is more prosperous, more equal and more stable for generations to come.”
Trudeau said discussions on a Canada-ASEAN free trade agreement is one of the ways that the two will benefit from a “closer relationship.”
Meanwhile, Trudeau said Canada will also help to find a “just solution” in the ongoing crisis in Myanmar.
“You see, in times of crisis, Canadians are prepared to lend a helping hand to their neighbors and friends. It’s not only what we do, it’s who we are,” he said.
A draft of the statement to be issued after a Southeast Asian summit makes no mention of the exodus of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar's Rakhine state following a military crackdown that has been described by the United Nations as ethnic cleansing.
One paragraph of the communiqué, seen by Reuters on Monday, mentions the importance of humanitarian relief provided for victims of natural disasters in Vietnam and a recent urban battle with Islamist militants in the Philippines,
The Reuters report said the draft did not give any details of the situation in northern Rakhine state or use the term Rohingya for the persecuted Muslim minority, which Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has asked foreign leaders not to use.