The Canada-Asia Trade and Investment for Growth Regional Program
Asia is home to the majority of the world’s poor, despite achieving remarkable rates of economic growth and poverty reduction in recent years. An estimated 1.7 billion people in the region live on less than $2 per day. To continue to reduce poverty and achieve development goals, a strong economic foundation built on a thriving private sector is essential for the region. Key to this growth is supporting local companies to grow and prosper, ensuring they have access to infrastructure, which will help facilitate regional and global trade and investment. Equally important will be improving the foreign and domestic private sectors’ access to markets and financing.
Trade is the backbone of Asian economies, accounting for a significant proportion of economic activity, and it is critical to improving livelihoods throughout the region. The success of Asia’s complex trading system is linked to continued regional and global economic integration that supports a free flow of goods, services, and investment among Asian countries and with the wider global economy.
In particular, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is committed to developing a common market that will help secure the economic future of the region’s estimated 609 million people. The proposed common market reflects a strong commitment to expanding regional trade relations, which will improve the competitiveness of local businesses and ultimately create jobs and strengthen economies. Canada supports the ASEAN member countries to help strengthen the trade and investment environment, facilitating stronger trade relations for Canada with the region.
Developing the infrastructure needed to advance Asia’s economic-integration efforts requires considerable ongoing investment from both the private and public sectors. An improved investment climate in Asia would take advantage of high domestic savings rates and expand opportunities for local and foreign private investors, including Canadians, to work collaboratively with the public sector to promote investment-related economic growth.
Trade and investment growth program
Canada introduced the Canada-Asia Trade and Investment for Growth Program (TRIGR) in 2013. It is designed to reduce poverty through inclusive economic growth using practical capacity-building initiatives to increase trade and investment-related economic activity in Asia. In support of Canadian foreign policy and trade objectives, the TRIGR development assistance program implements multi-country, regional, and country-specific programming approaches. It is an innovative mechanism designed to engage local and foreign private-sector entities in development initiatives.
Here are selected examples of expected project results:
- Improved ability of ASEAN member countries to develop and tender bankable and effective, gender-sensitive and environmentally sustainable regional infrastructure public-private partnerships (ASEAN Infrastructure Centre of Excellence)
- Expanded and improved investment services provided by 12 to 18 investment funds to 90 to 130 small and medium-sized enterprises committed to improving socially responsible business practices (A New Partnership for Sustainable Impact Investing in Frontier Markets)
The TRIGR program will implement projects that improve and promote trade and investment initiatives, in areas such as:
- private-sector access to financing
- financial services and capital markets
- public-private partnerships for infrastructure
- trade facilitation
- business development
- regional integration
- the extractive sector
Progress on aid effectiveness
The TRIGR program works in close cooperation with regional organizations such as ASEAN and the Asian Development Bank in direct support of their long-term trade and investment objectives, as well as with other local, regional, and international partners.
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