Canada has called on the Philippines to support its free trade negotiations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
“Regarding trade, we are negotiating for a free trade agreement with ASEAN. So, we hope that we could have the support of the Philippines. And we are negotiating also to become a strategic partner of ASEAN, recognizing the importance of ASEAN Centrality,” Canadian Foreign Minister Mèlanie Joly said during a courtesy call on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in Malacañang on Thursday.
“So if we could work together to achieve that, that would be very much appreciated because we are bringing a lot of diplomatic knowledge and strength,” the Foreign Minister added.
President Marcos said there are many opportunities the two countries can identify “as potential areas for us to be able to move further.”
He also expressed his desire for the Philippines to pursue strategic partnership with Canada to further strengthen their bilateral ties.
“On the issue of strategic partnership, I think it is something that certainly we can pursue. I cannot at the outset see anything that should get in the way of achieving this goal,” the President said.
Canada and the Philippines are set to mark their 75th year of bilateral relations in 2024.