In August 2012, the Government of Canada announced the creation of the Canada-ASEAN Business Council (CABC). This dynamic private-sector organisation promotes Canadian trade and investment opportunities throughout Southeast Asia. In October of this year, CABC sponsored the first ASEAN-Canada Business Forum in Singapore, which was attended by some 220 participants, including business and political leaders from Canada and throughout Southeast Asia.

A recent report prepared for the Government of Canada by CABC looks at the prospects and challenges of doing business with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as the history and future of Canada’s commercial relations with the region. Among the highlights:

– Canada’s exports to ASEAN in 2012 totalled more than $5 billion, up 15 per cent from 2010 and more than double the level a decade ago. Important exports include fertilizers, machinery, cereals, wood pulp and electrical and electronic equipment.

– Canada’s imports from ASEAN in 2012 were double its exports, at $10.8 billion, with key imports including electrical and electronic equipment, machinery, rubber and apparel.

– The stock of Canadian Direct Investment Abroad in ASEAN totalled $7.7 billion in 2011, 50 percent more than the $5 billion that Canada invested in China and India combined.

– Canada and ASEAN have not signed a trade agreement. However, the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations (with the participation of four ASEAN members, including Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam and Malaysia), as well as ongoing FTA exploratory talks with Thailand, provide Canada with opportunities to advance trade and investment interests with half of the ASEAN members.

Source: ASEAN Commercial Opportunities Study for Canadian Business