Canada is launching free-trade talks with a major group of southeast Asian countries as it seeks to diversify away from China and find new ways of coping with a snarled global supply chain.
International Trade Minister Mary Ng announced the opening of formal trade talks late Tuesday with the Association of South East Asian Nations — known as ASEAN — after meeting with representatives of that 10-country bloc.
Ng described the opening of the talks as a significant milestone in deepening Canada’s economic relations with the Indo-Pacific region and driving economic growth as the world copes with supply-chain bottlenecks that have plagued global trade during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Three weeks ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a business forum that pursuing a trade deal with ASEAN countries would be a “win-win” that would be key to driving Canada’s growth as it emerges from the pandemic.
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