16:47 | 08/08/2016 Cooperation
Canada will provide about 13 million CAD or 10 million USD to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in ASEAN.
Canadian Minister of International Trade Chrystia Freeland (Photo: thestar.com)
Canadian Minister of International Trade Chrystia Freeland made the announcement during the ASEAN Economic Ministers – Canada Consultation in Vientiane, Laos on August 4.
“Canada proudly supports SMEs across the ASEAN region to ensure international trade has a positive impact on economic growth and standards of living,” she said.
In partnership with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Canada will support ASEAN member states in research, training and capacity building to put SME-friendly policies and programmes in place and help identify opportunities to integrate SMEs into global value chains.
Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) will also support research into improving ASEAN’s participation in global value chains.
According to the Canadian minister, the initiatives aim to provide policy makers and stakeholders with the knowledge, training, tools and resources to ensure SMEs, particular women-run SMEs, are competitive, resilient and able to access international markets.
“Our project will support low-skilled workers in the ASEAN region, many of whom are women, who are often confined to low-wage, low-productivity jobs and have limited access to land ownership, credit and training,” IDRC President Jean Lebel noted.
ASEAN is among the world’s fastest-growing economies with collective GDP estimated at over 3.1 trillion USD in 2015.
SMEs account for more than 96 percent of all enterprises in the region, creating between 50-95 percent of employment in ASEAN member states.
The bloc is currently Canada’s sixth largest merchandise trading partner. Last year, bilateral merchandise trade hit 16.4 billion USD./.