Philippines-Canada Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation
DFA Secretary, Canadian Foreign Minister Hold Talks, Launch Philippines-Canada Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC)
Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario today signed with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird a Memorandum of Understanding that formally launched the Philippines-Canada Joint Commission for Bilateral Consultation (JCBC) which will provide the roadmap for cooperation between the two countries and chart the future course of their relations.
During their bilateral meeting, the two officials underscored the dynamic human link between the Philippines and Canada, represented by more than half a million Filipinos who live and work in Canada.
Secretary del Rosario said: “The JCBC is a very important agreement, the first-ever between our two countries in its 62 years of diplomatic relations. This mechanism is designed to rev up the engine of our cooperation in the political, economic and social fields, especially at a time when Canada is intensifying its engagement with the Asia-Pacific region.”
For his part, Minister Baird expressed hope that “the JCBC it is a beginning and not an end that will usher greater engagement on a wide range of issues, the most important of which is the people-to-people linkages.”
Secretary del Rosario underlined the two countries’ shared values and conveyed the Philippines’ readiness to contribute more to Canada’s expanding economy by meeting its growing human resource requirements. He also informed his ocunterpart that good governance under the Aquino Administration translated to good economics and cited the 6.4% gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the first quarter of this year. Secretary del Rosario also mentioned that the Philippines moved up by 10 notches in the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness report and is now a net creditor.
Canada has embarked on a stronger market presence in Asia, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in particular, which will become a common market when it transforms itself into an ASEAN Economic Community by 2015.
Minister Baird said: “Philippines-Canada bilateral relationship remains vital, especially as Canada increases its engagement within Southeast Asia. For over 35 years, Canada has been a proud Dialogue Partner of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which the Philippines is a member-state.” This year marks the 35th anniversary of the establishment of ASEAN-Canada Dialogue Relations and Canada is organizing an ASEAN-Canada meeting at the Ministerial level to decide on the future directions of the dialogue partnership.
Secretary del Rosario’s visit to Ottawa, upon the invitation of Minister Baird, marks the first visit of a Philippine Foreign Secretary to Canada in over a decade.
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