Economic ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) have endorsed the terms of reference for a feasibility study on a free trade deal with Canada, Trade Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo said on Friday.
“The instruction is to complete the feasibility to make it more in-depth,” Rodolfo told reporters.
“[The] Economic Research Institute for Asean and East Asia [ERIA] volunteered to do it on a per country basis
because the current study is Asean and Canada,” he added.
A study will provide an overview of Asean and Canada’s economies that will highlight key trends in terms of trade in goods, services and investment, Rodolo said,
It will examine each party’s approach to negotiations and evaluate the potential benefits of an Asean-Canada free trade agreement, he added.
Ministers agreed to launch exploratory talks after the study’s completion.
The ministers also expressed their appreciation for Canada’s support of Asean efforts to promote inclusive and innovation-led growth.
As a group, Asean was Canada’s sixth largest merchandise trading partner last year with trade totalling 2.16 billion Canadian dollars, officials said.