Trudeau Launches Asian Tour to Strengthen Ties, Boost Trade and Discuss Green Energy Transition


Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau embarks on a week-long Asian tour comprising international summits and bilateral meetings in a bid to solidify ties with the rapidly growing region. The journey includes stops in Indonesia, Singapore, and India over six days, emphasizing relationship-building with Asian leaders.

A primary goal for Canada is to tap into the region’s rapid growth propelled by the global green energy transition, a sphere in which Canada visualizes itself as a crucial player. Diversifying its trade away from China and towards Asia’s flourishing markets is also a top priority.

Last fall, Canada initiated a new Indo-Pacific strategy aiming to augment trade links throughout the region, a move intended to counterbalance China’s dominance. Trade negotiations with Indonesia are currently ongoing, though formal trade discussions with India have temporarily paused for further deliberation with business stakeholders. As for Singapore, a trade pact already exists as both nations are signatories to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

The tour, however, is not without challenges. Experts warn that Trudeau needs to demonstrate that this trip is not merely superficial but signifies Canada’s long-term commitment to the region. This involves fostering relationships rather than merely striking deals, taking into account the distinct cultures. Furthermore, a focus on trade and economics should be the prime agenda.

Jacarta is Trudeau’s first port of call where he will meet with Indonesian President Joko Widodo and attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations meeting. The tour continues onto Singapore, where Trudeau will converse with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and business magnates, culminating with the G20 leaders’ summit in New Delhi, India.

Prevalent recommendations suggest that, instead of promoting human rights, which could potentially fall on deaf ears, Canada needs to emphasize its economic prospects. The underlying sentiment is that Canada needs the Indo-Pacific region more than it is needed in return, curtailing any high-horse moralizing.

Indo-Pacific, the world’s fastest-growing region, will wield considerable influence on Canada’s future over the next half-century. By 2030, this region will constitute two-thirds of the global middle class. That affluence will enable the region to lift millions from poverty, a demographic expansion Canada could crucially utilize given its aging population.

Canada’s economy could flatline if it is left out of these conversations, prescribing a need to seize opportunities within the region. Climate change presents one such instance. Canada views itself as a leader in transitioning the region to green energy and believes its business sector could offer the fuel, food, and fertilizer needed to surmount this sizable challenge.

In the G20 leaders’ meetings, Trudeau is expected to concentrate on climate change, food, energy security, and gender equality. Trudeau is also predicted to vouch for Ukraine, who has been left out of the G20 leader’s summit. The oft-tense topic of climate change, despite its looming threat, often forms a divisive grey cloud in these discussions. However, if Canada can successfully transition away from fossil fuels, it could motivate other nations to do the same.

The visit to India comes with a tinge of controversy, marking Trudeau’s first return since his contentious 2018 trip deemed by the international media as a debacle. As opposed to the lukewarm reception from India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his previous visit, Trudeau hopes for a more cordial engagement this time, focusing solely on the G20 leaders’ meetings in a brief two-day visit.

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Melinda Cochrane is a poet, teacher and fiction author. She is also the editor and publisher of The Inspired Heart, a collection of international writers. Melinda also runs a publishing company, Melinda Cochrane International books for aspiring writers, based out Montreal, Quebec. Her publication credits include: The art of poetic inquiry, (Backalong Books), a novella, Desperate Freedom, (Brian Wrixon Books Canada), and 2 collections of poetry; The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat, (Backalong Books), and She’s an Island Poet, Desperate Freedom was on the bestseller's list for one week, and The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat is one of hope and encouragement for all those living in the social welfare system. She’s been published in online magazines such as, (regular writer for) ‘Life as a Human’, and Shannon Grissom’s magazine.


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