Canada is moving quickly to take advantage of economic opportunities in Myanmar amid major reforms in the Southeast Asian nation.
Trade minister Ed Fast said Wednesday he will visit Myanmar in September to help open the door for Canadian trade and investments, less than two weeks after the Canadian government unveiled plans to open an embassy in the Southeast Asian nation.
Fast, who will be the first Canadian trade minister to visit the country formerly known as Burma, made the announcement in Toronto, during a visit to an exhibit featuring leading contemporary artists from Myanmar.
Fast said he discussed opportunities for Canadian companies in Myanmar at a round table with Canadian businesses and think-tanks in preparation for his upcoming visit.
He said Canada is “encouraged” by the changes taking place in Myanmar, and the government believes it can “anchor and expand” the reforms through “cautious Canadian investment.
Canada is hoping to benefit from potential demand in Myanmar when it moves to modernise aging infrastructure after decades of relative isolation. Myanmar’s extensive natural resources including oil and gas and mining, are also provides attractive investment opportunities for Canadian companies.
Canada’s moves comes after it suspended most of its sanctions against Myanmar in April. It also underscores the push by prime minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government to boost trade and investment with Asia as the economies of its traditional trade partners in the West slows. Some three-quarters of Canadian exports are currently to the US -By Nirmala Menon