Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast
Credits: REUTERS/Daniel Munoz
Minister of International Trade Ed Fast embarked on a southeast Asian trade mission last week. He'll travel to Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia as well as Burma, where he will deepen trade and investment relations. Canada's economic strategy involves both weening itself off trade with America as well as taking advantage of the rapidly growing Asian markets.
"Minister Fast is expected to announce further steps countries can take to re-engage with this emerging democracy and fast-growing market," spokesman Adam Taylor told QMI Agency.
In an open letter on trade with Burma released Friday, Fast and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced Canada's intention of opening an embassy in Burma.
In April, Canada lifted many sanctions against Burma, though the Special Economic Measures (Burma) Regulations still outline the names of individuals and businesses prohibited from doing business with Canadian groups.
While the open letter expressed optimism about steps Burma is taking to democratize, it also warned Canadian businesses to be vigilant in vetting any Burmese countries with which they intend to do business.
"Canada continues to have serious concerns about governance in Burma," the letter said.
Ian Lee, a business expert at the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University, said although Burma is small, it represents an enormous opportunity for Canada.
"Europe was Canada's past; America is Canada's present," Lee said. "Asia is Canada's future."