Prime Minister Trudeau speaks to media in Singapore
Hello everyone. I want first of all to thank the President, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for welcoming Minister Carr and myself to Singapore.
As a country built by trade and strengthened by diversity, Canadians understand the importance of looking to opportunities beyond our borders and working with like-minded countries to build a more prosperous world. This very productive visit to Singapore has been a chance to further that commitment, strengthening the ties between our two countries. Singapore is one of our most important partners in Southeast Asia, an ally on security and defence, and a key partner in forums like the association of Southeast Asian Nations, and the World Trade Organization. And we're not just united by our work on the international stage, but by our people too. Across Canada, people celebrate their Singaporean heritage, and thousands of students from Singapore study at Canadian schools every year.
This close relationship between our two countries has always been forward-looking, there's no better example than the driving collaboration between our entrepreneurs including some of the 150 Canadian businesses that have operations in Singapore. Over the last few days, I've had the chance to meet many of these innovative leaders who are helping set up Canada for success. And I've also seen firsthand what kind of great results we can expect from the new comprehensive and progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Just a few weeks ago, Canada formally ratified to CPTPP. Getting this deal done was a top priority and part of our plan to grow the middle class and create new opportunities for working people and entrepreneurs alike. As one of the first six countries to ratify this deal, Canada will be at the front of the line to reap the rewards of this agreement when it comes into force at the end of this year. And our government is focused on continuing to build strong ties to create an economy that benefits everyone. Just like in past years, my third annual leader's dialogue which Premier Li of China was and an opportunity to keep working together to grow our shared prosperity, and open your doors for Canada to the world's largest market and its second-largest economy. Whether our government is taking action on trade diversification, or investing in skills training for students, we're supporting Canadian entrepreneurs so they can succeed and grow their footprint here in Asia-Pacific markets and around the world.
This visit was also an opportunity to strengthen Canada's relationship with other countries throughout the region. At the ASEAN summit, I met with Southeast Asian leaders to work together on building prosperity for people from Jakarta to Vancouver. For Canadians, that means expanding trade with countries that share a coast on the Pacific, which includes some of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Over the past few days we moved forward on exploring the potential for an ASEAN Canada free trade agreement, because just like recent agreements signed by our government with the European Union, the US and Mexico and the CPTPP, we understand that international trade creates new middle-class jobs for Canadians and supports the businesses that are driving our economic growth. As you may have heard me say a couple of times over the course of this week, we are the only G7 country with free trade deals with all other G7 countries, and that leads to growth and opportunities for Canadians.
So I want to congratulate Singapore for a successful and productive summit. It was a pleasure to take part, and I know that this visit will allow us to take our partnership with the countries of the entire Asia-Pacific region to the next level.