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Canada and ASEAN Explore Possible Trade Deal

Canada and ASEAN (which includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) have agreed to launch exploratory discussions on an eventual free trade agreement. According to a news release issued by the Canadian government, Canada is “stepping up its strategic commitment to trade diversification by expanding influence and economic footprint in this burgeoning, high-growth region.” Canada has already taken steps to increase its influence by establishing a diplomatic presence in all ten ASEAN member states and appointing a permanent ambassador to the organisation itself. The Canadian government notes that ASEAN is one of the world’s fastest growing economic regions with a gross domestic product estimated at over US$3.1 trillion in 2015. Canada’s bi-lateral trade with ASEAN reached US$21.6 billion in 2016.

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