The ASEAN-Canada Joint Cooperation Committee (ACJCC) held its 8th meeting at the ASEAN Secretariat’s headquarters in Jakarta, Indonesia on February 25.
Delegates at the event
The ASEAN appreciated Canada’s commitments to the region, and asked Canada to continue supporting the ASEAN’s central role in the regional structure, as well as in bolstering economic integration and implementing the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025 and the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) Work Plan – third phase.
The bloc also called for ASEAN’s help in building quality infrastructure, promoting the ASEAN’s Smart Cities Network, granting scholarships, developing human resources, managing natural disasters, providing humanitarian aid, enhancing women’s role in peacekeeping and security, and people-to-people exchange.
The Canadian side affirmed that it attaches importance to cooperation with the ASEAN, which it considers a priority in external policy.
Canada pledged to continue support ASEAN in building the ASEAN Community, implementing the MPAC and IAI, while noting the wish to upgrade its partnership with the bloc, build an ASEAN-Canada free trade agreement, and participate in and contribute to such mechanisms as the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM Plus), East Asia Summit (EAS), Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF), for peace, security and prosperity in the region.
Canada also announced a plan to establish the ASEAN-Canada Cooperation Fund to carry out projects and cooperation activities in the time ahead.
On the direction for their partnership, the two sides agreed to work together on all three pillars of politics-security, economics and culture-society, with focus on fighting cross-border terrorism and crime; trade-investment; micro, small and medium enterprises; science-technology; cyber security; connectivity; smart city; climate change and natural disaster control; disease prevention; education; promotion and protection of the rights of women, children and migrant workers.
The two sides also concurred to coordinate to finalise the ASEAN-Canada Plan of Action for 2021-2025 to submit to the ASEAN-Canada Ministerial Meeting slated for early August this year for approval./.VNA