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He is the first sitting prime minister to attend the East Asia Summit.
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Standard Chartered Bank of London recently reported that foreign investment in Vietnam is growing at one of the highest rates among ASEAN countries. The ASEAN region is on the radar for investors in the hunt for more diversified growth opportunities, particularly in the weak commodity markets and political instability of eastern Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Africa.
There have clearly been security lapses which need explanation -- as much to Malaysians as to anybody else. And at the outset, the crisis management could have been better coordinated. However, there is no indication there is something that could have been done to alter the realities of this tragedy. So why has Chinese diplomacy targeted the Malaysian authorities so harshly?
In the 2000-2008 period, Canadian exports to ASEAN grew by 9 per cent annually, just under the average pace to emerging markets as a whole. Post-crisis, the rate of growth is exactly the same. Doubling trade in five years would require notching that pace up to 15 per cent annually -- not an unachievable target by any stretch of the imagination.
During his visit to Thailand, Harper should try to make up for lost time. Canada's relations with ASEAN have lagged behind those of other major Asia Pacific countries. For example total Canada-ASEAN trade of about $15 billion pales in comparison with the total Australia-ASEAN trade, of over $90 billion.
THE CANADIAN PRESS -- OTTAWA - John Baird will make his first trip to China this weekend as foreign affairs minister, continuing the Conservative government's efforts to improve its sometimes awkward...