There have been a couple of bits of good news from Canada in the last few days. First, John Baird, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, wrote this op-ed on "Deepening Canadian Partnerships with ASEAN." In it he argues for further ties with the grouping includes Singapore and Malaysia pointing out that:
- "Known Canadian foreign investment in this region reached $6.7 billion at the end of 2012"
- "two-way trade has averaged around 5-percent growth in the past five years"
- "This robust economic relationship has been mutually beneficial, helping to lift many out of poverty in ASEAN societies while creating a significant number of jobs here in Canada"
Then on Friday it was announced that negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the EU have been concluded.
Progress here has been slow. Discussions of a deal have been going on on-and-off since 2004 and the deal is unlikely to be finally ratified for another two years, which will be more than 6 years after the Canada-EFTA deal came in to force.
However it is still welcome news and brings Canada together with three of its fellow Commonwealth member states (the UK, Cyprus and Malta) as well as the other EU countries.
Add in Canada's ongoing negotiations with India, Singapore and CARICOM (12 of the grouping’s 15 members are also Commonwealth members) it seems to be leading the way in Commonwealth Trade.