Canada-ASEAN Business Council: Vietnam should play major part in Canada's strategy

Over the past several years, Vietnam - Canada's partnership has deepened considerably. Therefore, the Canada-ASEAN Business Council (CABC) has urged Canada to secure its economic interests with Vietnam as a key tenet of Canada’s Indo-Pacific strategy.
June 14, 2021 | 12:57
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Canada-ASEAN Business Council: Vietnam should play major part in Canada's strategy
The article posted in the Business in Vancouver weekly newspaper. (Photo: Business in Vancouver)

The article titled “Vietnam should play a major part in Canada’s Indo-Pacific strategy” was written by Geoff Donald, the Canada-ASEAN Business Council's advocacy chair and managing director at Asia Engagement Consulting Group. It was published on June 11 in the weekly business news journal Business in Vancouver.

According to the article, since 2015, Vietnam has been Canada’s largest trading partner in Southeast Asia withtwo-way trade reaching a record $11.2 billion in 2020. With the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Canadian and Vietnamese exporters and investors now enjoy increased market access and tariff reduction in a rules-based trading environment.

With a rapidly growing population that is expected to reach 120 million by 2050 and a strong GDP forecast of 6.5% growth in 2021, Vietnam is a high-potential market for Canadian companies especially in key industries such as agri-food.

Besides, Vietnam has great potentials in investments, financial services, infrastructure development, supply chain diversification, technology, and human capital development. At its recent 14th National Assembly, the Vietnam government finalized a political transition for the 2021 to 2026 period. With the newly-elected leaders, it is expected that the new Vietnamese government will continue its predecessors’ economic growth policies. In foreign policy, Vietnam will likely look to avoid choosing sides between economic superpowers while engaging through multilateral institutions such as ASEAN, the United Nations, and other middle power countries like Canada to provide strategic options.

Canada-ASEAN Business Council: Vietnam should play major part in Canada's strategy
A recent seminar to discuss Vietnam - Canada cooperation through CTTPP. (Photo: Lao Dong)

This political stability and policy continuity has instilled confidence among the domestic and foreign private sectors and observers, particularly due to Vietnam’s excellent domestic Covid-19 response and economic growth despite the pandemic’s impact.

Therefore, the writer suggested that to fully capture these opportunities and ensure inclusive growth, both governments should boost their support for small and mid-size enterprises to maximize the benefits of trade deals such as the CPTPP. Canada’s and Vietnam’s commitment to multilateral trade through the CPTPP and critical new opportunities such as a potential Canada-ASEAN free trade agreement positions Vietnam as an essential partner for Canada in the decades ahead.

As Canada looks to develop an Indo-Pacific strategy, the writer urged public policymakers and business leaders to prioritize this relationship by increasing support to small and mid-size enterprises looking to take advantage of the CPTPP, expanding Canada-Vietnam business collaborations in high-growth sectors such as agri-food, aerospace, infrastructure, financial services and digital economy, and expanding Canada-Vietnam business collaborations in high-growth sectors such as agri-food, aerospace, infrastructure, financial services, and digital economy.

An experienced business professional based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam with a combination of senior government, private sector, and international business development experience; a BA in Political Science and an MBA; a strong record in fundraising, government relations, advocacy, communications, team development, and community relations. He is the CABC’s advocacy chair and managing director at Asia Engagement Consulting Group.

This column was co-written with Wayne Farmer, CABC president and managing partner at Islemount Capital Advisers, and Thi Be Nguyen, CABC’s chair of Canada activities and manager at the National Bank of Canada’s office of the president and philanthropy.

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