Canada hails Asean charter as ‘a new chapter’

December 16th, 2008 - 1:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Dec 16 (IANS) Continuing its “look east” policy, Canada has welcomed the signing of a charter by member-nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to usher in a European Union-style union by 2015.The charter was signed by the 10 member nations - Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam - in Jakarta Monday.

Canada has been a dialogue partner with Asean for more than three decades and its trade with the bloc exceeded $13 billion last year.

It is also estimated that Canada has $7.7 billion worth of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the region considered to be one of the fastest growing the world.

Welcoming the signing of the charter, Canadian foreign minister Lawrence Cannon said: “The Asean charter heralds a new chapter in the already close partnership between Asean and Canada.

“Its entry into force marks an important step toward establishing an Asean community comprising the Asean Security Community, the Asean Economic Community and the Asean Socio-Cultural Community.”

The minister said Canada congratulates Asean members and the organisation’s secretariat on “this significant achievement and look forward to deepening our ties with the region”.

The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) this year funded an Asean forum to fine-tune the terms of reference for the implementation of the charter’s human rights mechanism.

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