DANIEL RAMAGE, Cereals Canada
Cereals Canada applauds the announcement of free trade agreement negotiations between Canada and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and calls for expedited Parliamentary processes to enable the start of negotiations in early 2022.
The 10 ASEAN member states comprise Canada’s sixth-largest trading partner, and bilateral trade between Canada and ASEAN reached $26.7 billion in 2020 with an opportunity for growth. ASEAN members are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Canada has long-standing relationships with many ASEAN members which are critical markets for Canadian agricultural products and for Canadian cereals. Over the past five years, ASEAN members have bought almost 3 million tonnes of Canadian wheat and durum per year, worth almost 1 billion dollars annually.
“With this agreement, we expect to strengthen our ties with customers in Southeast Asia while meeting the rising demand for staple food products in this dynamic fast-growing region,” said Dean Dias, Chief Executive Officer of Cereals Canada.
Canadian agriculture relies on open and rules-based access to international customers. Increased trade with new markets is critical for Canadian agriculture. An ambitious free-trade agreement between Canada and ASEAN members is an important step to securing and increasing market access which is beneficial to Canadian farmers and exporters.
“In parallel to ASEAN negotiations, Cereals Canada also encourages the Government of Canada to ensure existing free trade agreements are fully implemented and enforced. This outcome is needed to realize the benefits of negotiated agreements while boosting diversification and growth in-line with Canada’s agri-food export goals,” concluded Dias.