Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has signaled that Canada’s relations with China have stabilized, emphasizing the importance of maintaining global trade ties while addressing an audience of business leaders in Singapore. Trudeau’s weeklong tour of Indonesia, Singapore, and India aims to bolster trade partnerships in a region that Ottawa sees as essential to counteracting China’s economic influence.
Speaking at a Bloomberg event, Trudeau stressed that Canada remains open to global trade and rejects isolationism. He highlighted the necessity of coordinated Western approaches to trade with China as opposed to countries competing for Chinese export opportunities, a strategy China had effectively employed in the past.
Trudeau unveiled key trade commitments during his visit, including plans for a bilateral trade agreement with Indonesia by the end of 2024 and a separate deal with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) by 2025. These agreements will further solidify Canada’s economic presence in the Indo-Pacific region.
Singapore, a destination on Trudeau’s itinerary, is exploring opportunities for collaboration with Canada on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and strengthening global supply chains. Business leaders from the region expressed interest in investing in Canada, citing it as a hotspot for future opportunities.
Trudeau’s engagements included meetings with regional business leaders, and he is scheduled to meet with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. These interactions are crucial for promoting Canadian interests in the Indo-Pacific and strengthening ties between government and private sector leaders.
Canada’s strategic partnership with the ASEAN economic bloc of ten countries, initiated during Trudeau’s stop in Jakarta, reflects Canada’s expanding presence in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Canadian leader is set to attend the G20 leaders’ summit in New Delhi, India, where negotiations for a free-trade deal with India are underway. Despite recent pauses in talks, Trudeau’s visit underscores Canada’s commitment to regional cooperation and the importance of avoiding tensions between major economic powers.