Canada's Indo-Pacific Strategy offers a comprehensive framework for its engagement in the region over the next decade. The first five years of the strategy include new initiatives and investments of almost $2.3 billion over five years, detailed below.
In 2026-27, the Government of Canada will return with an update that will cover initiatives and resources for years 2027-2032.
Canada is negotiating a number of trade and investment agreements with key Indo-Pacific partners.
This includes new trade agreements with India, ASEAN, and Indonesia, as well as the expansion of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) through the accession of new members.
These agreements will strengthen our trade and investment relationships, uphold open, inclusive and rules-based trade, and set high standards for trade rules in the region.
Canadian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Lilly Nicholls has said Bangladesh is the key part of Canada's just launched Indo-Pacific strategy.
"It will usher in a new era of making Canada attractive and a long-term significant partner in the region and Bangladesh is a key part of that strategy," she said moments before the formal launching of the long-awaited strategy in Vancouver.
The high commissioner said the new Indo-Pacific strategy recognises Bangladesh in the Indo-Pacific at large and is absolutely critical for Canada and for Canadians.
The Canadian envoy was speaking at an event hosted by the Canada Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CanCham Bangladesh) celebrating 50 years of bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Canada.
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen spoke as the chief at the event. Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) President Md Jashim Uddin, CanCham President Masud Rahman and Principal of Canadian International School of Bangladesh Janice Smales also spoke at the event.
The Indo-Pacific region is key to Canada's economic growth, prosperity and security.
As a Pacific nation, Canada recognises that the Indo-Pacific region is critically important for the long-term prosperity, health and security of Canadians.
High commissioner Nicholls said they need to bring more trade missions in both directions and laid emphasis on making people aware of the opportunities that Bangladesh offers.
"We need to bring more Bangladeshis to Canada as well," she said.
The high commissioner said they never forget that both Canada and Bangladesh are promoters of democracy, diversity of languages and both countries are free traders, multilateralists and peacekeepers. "We have a lot in common."
Nicholls highly appreciated Bangladesh's efforts in reducing poverty significantly over the past 50 years which she finds unprecedented.
"Canada is honoured to be part of that journey with Bangladesh."
"So, as we move forward, we need to work together as we had done in the past. I know we have much more to achieve," she added.
Momen courts Canadian investors at 50th anniversary event
Terming Bangladesh-Canada relations very strong, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen urged Canada to invest more in Bangladesh taking advantage of the facilities it offers.
"It is time to invest in Bangladesh. It's a good time," Momen said, inviting Canadian investors to invest in Bangladesh.
The foreign minister said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also attaches high importance to Bangladesh's relations with Canada.
Momen urged Canada to put pressure on Myanmar so that the country takes back its nationals as early as possible.
He also urged Canada to come forward for the resettlement of some of the Rohingyas as "Canada has plenty of space."
At the event, Canada Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CanCham) President Masud Rahman emphasised the signing of a bilateral foreign investment protection agreement (FIPA) to facilitate the inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) from Canada to Bangladesh.
He also highlighted the importance of signing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) for the promotion and expansion of trade.
In 2019, FDI to Bangladesh reached $3.61 billion. FDI inflows to Bangladesh raised by 37 percent year-on-year to $3.43 billion in 2021-2022, a positive development for the economy.
The CanCham president said Bangladesh is situated at a geographically advantageous position in close proximity to India and China, both key commercial partners of Canada.
"All these have made Bangladesh a very prospective destination of FDI, especially for Canada which has been looking for a profitable, secure investment hub for possible relocation, particularly in Bangladesh," he said.
Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) has also established a country desk for Canada.
The main objectives of the Canada Desk are to extend end-to-end support throughout the investment life cycle to address issues relating to FDI from Canada.
High Commissioner Lilly Nicholls said this is a very special time for both Canada and Bangladesh.
Canada was the first country among the G7 nations which recognised Bangladesh and also supplied food aid after its independence.
Nicholls lauded Bangladesh's poverty reduction from 90 percent to nine percent.
"We have a lot in common," the high commissioner also said.
Canada is a great friend of Bangladesh which supplied a lot of wheat in the early time of independence in 1971, Momen said.
Bangladesh needs the Canadian general trade preference facility for Bangladesh even after the graduation to a developing country from the least developed country in 2026, he said.
Jashim Uddin said FBCCI is playing a critical role under a joint working group for improving the bilateral trade and investment between the two countries.
There is an immense opportunity for business between the two countries in leather, agro foods, and blue economy apart from garment items, he also said.
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