In a speech in Vancouver on Tuesday, Garneau said the world's economic focus is shifting to Asia and the Canadian economy will stagnate unless trade is improved with the region, including China, India, Singapore and Vietnam.
Garneau has laid out a four-point plan to increase Asian trade, including attracting more foreign capital by setting out clear rules on foreign investment.
In addition, he wants to improve and diversify Canada's transportation system to ensure that exports such as grain, oil and manufactured goods are moved more efficiently.
Garneau also says he wants to protect the environment through science and evidence-based research and partner with aboriginal communities.
He says without environmental sustainability or First Nations co-operation, any plan will lack the moral authority to move forward.