Vancouver—Canada’s economic success in Asia hinges on broad engagement across economics, politics security and cultural issues, according to a taskforce report published today by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada.
Coming on the eve of the Prime Minister’s trip to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit in Russia, the report identifies 17 priorities to foster a prosperous Asian relationship.
These priorities are split into three segments:
Securing Canada’s Place in Asia: Institutions, Means and Mechanisms is co-authored by Don Campbell, senior strategy advisor to Davis LLP; Paul Evans, professor of Asian international relations at the University of British Columbia; and Pierre Lortie, senior business advisor at Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP.
“The challenge now is for Canada to sustain and build on its foothold in Asia through a more coherent strategy that utilizes bilateral and regional processes,” said Campbell. “Currently, Canada is either not present or on the margins of some key institutions.”
Canada is currently a member of APEC, a dialogue partner with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). It also participates in non-official forums such as the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) and the Shangri-La Dialogue.
Canada is currently not a member of the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting or the East Asia Summit. Canada is awaiting final approval to join the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations but has not concluded a single free trade agreement with any Asian country.
“Some might question the value of Canada joining process-filled forums in Asia, but keep in mind that the rules of engagement in Asia are different,” said Campbell. “Being active participants at these tables is critical to building long-term trust with Asian counterparts. This is ultimately vital to Canada’s long-term prosperity.”
Indeed, the report recognizes that contributing is as important as receiving in the Asian mindset. Thus, success on the trade and investment front requires a greater Canadian presence and participation in a broad spectrum of multilateral and bilateral processes.
Some of the report’s key recommendations include:
The Regional Architecture Taskforce was created as part of APF Canada’s National Conversation on Asia (NCA). This report is the second in a series of taskforce reports to be released as part of the NCA. This project aims to get Canadians thinking and talking about what Asia means to Canada.